Throughout the year, we host challenging events in which our fellow Sheep Dogs can participate. These adventures give them opportunities to get up off the couch, be around their peers, and reengage in life.
Particularly for those injured in combat or the line of duty, SDIA’s Outdoor Adventures give our Sheep Dogs a chance to see how far they have come since being injured, and remind them that no matter the obstacle, they can overcome it with their brothers and sisters by their side. As a result, participants have a new focus, revitalized self-confidence, and are reminded that they can continue making a difference in their communities and for their country.
Past adventures have included obstacle races, skydiving, whitewater rafting, big game & bird hunts, ruck marches, and scuba diving.
Asheville Adventure Weekend & Spartan Super, August 6, 2016 – U.S. Navy veteran and firefighter, Jamie Smith, felt the Spartan Super’s grueling 9-mile course and 25 obstacles provided the challenge he was looking for. After being injured as a firefighter, Smith was told he would never walk again and was confined to a wheel chair for two years. He worked hard to get back on his feet, and the Super pushed him to his limits. It also gave him much needed closure for the loss of friends, fellow veterans and firefighters. “I had their names on my shirt, and I carried them with me through [the Spartan race]. They will forever be in my heart and mind, but I was able to get through some bad things on that day. I found a way to heal inside and out.”
Yosemite Adventure, May 29-June 2, 2016 – “Sheep Dog Impact Assistance gave me the chance to exercise a part of myself that these days is often left dormant – the part of me that is proud to be a Marine around other service members,” said Cpl Aaron P. Mankin, who was wounded during an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack near the Syrian border in 2005. Six Marines were lost in the attack, and Mankin walked away with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his hands, arms and face. Being with fellow Sheep Dogs turned things around for him. “The healing is so organic that you don’t even realize it’s happening. That’s the beauty of surrounding myself with Sheep Dogs…I realized once again that I am a Sheep Dog. For life.”