A group of wounded veterans makes their way through the rapids of Lodore Canyon. The trip was organized through a partnership between the Wounded Warrior Project and several other groups.

Dinosaur National Monument/Courtesy

A group of wounded veterans makes their way through the rapids of Lodore Canyon. The trip was organized through a partnership between the Wounded Warrior Project and several other groups.

Wounded veterans go on rafting trip

Group visits Lodore Canyon for outing to help with rehabilitation

A group of injured U.S. veterans were treated to a rafting trip last week through Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument.

The trip was organized through a partnership between the Wounded Warrior Project, Adaptive Sports Association in Durango, Colorado Discover Ability and the National Parks Service.

The Wounded Warrior Project seeks to help wounded soldiers with their rehabilitation by getting them involved with outdoor activities.

Martin Wiesiolek, who organized the trip, said everything went well, despite the party suffering through nearly every weather pattern imaginable in a four-day span.

Appreciation for the soldiers' sacrifices was not hard to come by on the river, he added.

"On the second day, we floated past a campsite with a large group of rafters," Wiesiolek said. "As we floated by, the group started cheering and singing for us.

"I was guiding a paddleboat with the veterans, and they all fell silent when they heard the cheers. A really tough guy, Jim, turned to me with tears in his eyes. It was hard to respond to the group's cheering with lumps in our throats, but eventually we all responded with a strong, military-style OORAH."

Dinosaur Superintendent Mary Risser said she glad to help veterans enjoy the park, and she lauded the work done by the various organizations involved.

"Last year, the Adaptive Sports Association taught several vets who had lost limbs how to kayak and took them on a trip through Grand Canyon," she said. "We're delighted that we were able to accommodate their trip through Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur."

For more information about the Wounded Warrior Project, visit the group's Web site, www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

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