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SEE HOW: One man is using his experience to help veterans of all abilities enjoy the outdoors

Posted at 4:55 PM, Jun 11, 2024
  • After getting in an accident that left him disabled one man is helping veterans of all abilities enjoy the outdoors
  • The group goes on different adventures including boating and going on trails using equipment to make it accessible for everyone.
  • Watch the video to see how they're making it happen

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

“I got shot in a hunting accident in 1988 it left me with severe brain damage and hemiplegia and spent three months in rehab hospital.”

After going through a life changing event, David Jones leaned on his passion for the outdoors to get better.

“It led me to realize how important outdoor recreation was to me and I was still David Jones even though I couldn’t walk and I was using a wheelchair and had a whole different life.”

That’s when he started Sports Ability Alliance.

“I wanted to create my own nonprofit organization that helps other people get back to living which is why we’re here.”

Now, he teams up with Move United, a national nonprofit organization that helps other groups get funding.

He's on a mission to help veterans.

“We got a grant from the veterans administration to do veteran trips and adventure trips outdoors for those who have served our country and may have disabilities that limits that ability.”

The group goes on different adventures including boating and going on trails using equipment to make it accessible for everyone.

One of the things they used is this transportation device called an Eco Rover.

Kurt Vandegrift is a veteran and says this program is inclusive to everyone.

“I know that there are people that have worse mobility problems than I do and this is an opportunity to get in the outdoors and this would make it a whole lot easier to enjoy Florida’s nature.”

He also says support like this for veterans here is needed.

“Wakulla County Is a small population in County so statistically less populated areas get less services just because of the expense of getting it to those areas so if this is available to us here this is a tremendous asset.”

I checked the U-S census which shows 10 percent of Wakulla County's population is made up of veterans. Having a supportive community to enjoy the outdoors with is why they’re doing it.

“We understand each others needs and can help each other out,”

Jones hopes others will give back to their communities despite whatever life throws at us.

“Don’t wait till you get shot or have a severe crisis in your life to give back. When you start giving back and helping others you’ll benefit from then on.”