Sun Valley Adaptive Sports Takes U.S Marines to Higher Ground
Photography: Dev Khalsa
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Smith prepares Lowe to go to the top of the mountain on his third day of skiing. “What can I say? These guys are Marines. For them, this is nothing in terms of bravery.”
But the real courage required for Lowe, Brumpton, Danes and Spaulding is not facing the steepness of a mountain, but a life that is far more uncertain than it was when they left for Iraq.
Iselin thinks the time they spent in Sun Valley will make the transition easier.
“The reunion effect was just what I hoped for,” he says. “Their time that week motivated them to do things together at home. The relationship that they established in Iraq continues, and they have each other beyond this one event.”
The selflessness of the Marines shines through as Iselin presses each soldier to consider his goals and dreams. “We can make it happen,” he tells them, again and again. Brumpton, Danes, Spaulding and Lowe have become enthusiastic about spreading the word on Sun Valley Adaptive Sports.
“I’d just like to let other vets know about this tremendous opportunity,” Danes says.
Joe’s mother, Lori Lowe, says she saw an immediate change in her son when he returned from his ski trip. “It seems like having that week in Sun Valley started a new chapter in Joe’s life,” she said. “All of his life is a lot of work right now, and for him to get to just go have fun put some joy back in him. I look at the pictures from that week, and I see a smile that I haven’t seen in more than a year.”
“I just want to be a regular guy with a wife and kids,” Lowe says. “I know I won’t be able to wrestle and play football with my kids like my dad did with me. But I can do things like this,” gesturing to Baldy before he loads on the River Run chairlift for what has to be his eighth time of the day. “I can be a fun dad.”
To learn more about Sun Valley Adaptive Sports’ Higher Ground veteran’s program
or to sponsor a disabled veteran go to