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Injured veterans learn to ski

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Department of Veteran Affairs, VA

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Thirteen recently injured soldiers from around the country are in Maine this week learning how to cross country ski.

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NEW GLOUCESTER (WGME) -- Thirteen recently injured soldiers from around the country are in Maine this week learning how to cross country ski.

They're part of a group called "Team Semper Fi." The group provides lifetime support for critically injured service members in a variety of different ways - one of them being through "rehabilitative sports."

For the first time in a long time, Marine Captain James Nash of Oregon, hasn't thought about the mortar explosion and IED that nearly took his life in Afghanistan.

"It's taken about a year and a half," said Nash. "There are still a lot of lingering effects that will continue on. But, for now out here, I don't really think about it."

Nash is one of 13 servicemen and women from around the country spending a few days in New Gloucester learning how to cross country ski. The free program, "Veterans Adaptive Sports and Training" or V.A.S.T., is being offered through "Team Semper Fi" as a way to bring injured soldiers together for a few days of fun.

"A lot of them have never skied before," said Kristina Sabasteanski of V.A.S.T. "Marines are always up for the challenge. It's recovery through sport. They definitely rose to the occasion."

It's Marine Captain Chris Hadsall of Colorado's first time in Maine.

"It's another way for guys who didn't really leave the military that way they wanted to leave, most we medically retired," he said. "It's a way for us to still stay connected to our communities and our brothers."

For many, it's life changing.

"It's really reassuring to see other people that are doing well," said Nash. "They're putting one foot in front of the other. It's fun to share experiences and to have an unspoken understanding."

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