Semper Fi Fund helps injured veterans rehabilitate through extreme sports

Posted at 10:25 PM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 09:30:43-04

PARK CITY, Utah – Twenty five injured veterans from across the country are escaping to the mountains near Park City for a three-day adventure.

The all-abilities mountain biking camp aims to help injured veterans in their recovery.

“I didn't think I would mountain bike or get to do any of the sports, activities, that I enjoy ever again,” said Peter Way of Augusta, Georgia.

Way served for in the military for 24 years, but when he came home his battle was far from over.

“I was in Afghanistan, got injured there, and ultimately lost my leg from infections,” he said.

Now Way is taking on the winding trails in Park City, a task that would have seemed impossible just a year ago.

“We’re 12 years away from the beginning of the war, and we're starting to really see the traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, and how that's affecting veterans,” said Brian McPherson, the senior manager of the Semper Fi Fund.

The Semper Fi Fund provides equipment and special bikes to help veterans ride their way toward recovery.

“It's not stuff I could really do on my own, and people who support this and help: it's huge,” Way said.

While some vets riding the trails suffer from physical disabilities, others struggle with mental and emotional stress

“The camaraderie we get with everybody and the enjoyment of just coming out here and playing, it's relaxing,” said Stephen Kocher of Las Vegas. “It's what the majority of us need after being in the darkest days.”

The event helps veterans move from the darkest days, to better days.

“We're just out being kids riding on bikes, that's exactly what it feels like,” Kocher said.

Arthur Sykes of Montana said it’s a great program.

“I feel like I get to fully express what’s going on with myself inside, emotionally, mentally,” he said.

This week’s events focus on mountain biking, but the group also engages in activities like rock climbing and river rafting. For more information about the Semper Fi Fund, click here.