Army Veteran Jeff Grieves said he lost something after his 2013 retirement. But he found it again after a friend nudged him to try the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in 2018.
“You’re able to connect with people that you’re on an even keel with,” the Virginia resident said. “They’re banged up, beaten and broken just like you are. You speak the same language. They understand you.”
The experience of his first clinic inspired Grieves to seek out more adaptive sports opportunities with Veterans, including the Department of Defense Warrior Games.
He said there were limited opportunities for him when he first separated from the military.
“I had a miserable experience,” he said. “It took four-and-a-half years for my disability to get finalized.”
During his 22-year career, the combat Veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered a traumatic brain injury, which has led to constant headaches that he is now able to maintain with alternative treatment. He also has post-traumatic stress disorder, lung damage, back injuries, and a conglomeration of other knee and ankle injuries.
“Twenty-plus years of jumping out of planes just abuses the body,” Grieves said.
This year, he’s back in Snowmass, Colorado, along with his wife to ski and scuba dive. He said he appreciates that the clinic enables her to attend with him as his caregiver.
“That’s always a great advantage,” he said. “We appreciate the VA and DAV.”
Still for Grieves, it’s the bonding with other Veterans that makes each year memorable.
“We just enjoy it so much because we just got to get back in touch with soldiers again, people with like minds and like stories,” Grieves said. “It’s just so enjoyable, and we just looked forward to gettin
g back to it.”