The New England Summer Sports Clinic for Veterans, sponsored by the Boston VA Healthcare System and NEHSA (New England Handicapped Sports Association in Sunapee), is a wonderful event planned for disabled veterans on July 23 and 24 on the Northern Rail Trail in New Hampshire.  “Veterans involved in adaptive sports activities benefit from positive connections with the community and from nature,” says Ralph Marche, Chief of Voluntary and Recreation Therapy Service at the Boston V.A.  This summer the organizers have again chosen the Northern Rail Trail to stage their activities because of its beauty, bike friendly surface, wide expanse and 1% maximum grade.

 

Four teams of participants will set out on the rail trail on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 23 and 24 beginning at the Potter Place trailhead in Andover, N.H.  Heading out at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day, these groups of 15-20 (veterans and their staff) will operate cycles some of which are specially designed bikes/trikes that feature a drive train powered by the arms rather than the legs.  Athletes will ride up and back on a two mile stretch going north from Potter Place to Eagle Pond at mile marker 36.6 on NH Rt 4.

 

Area folks are stepping up in support of the veterans. Local  volunteers will offer refreshments to the athletes and cheer them on as they set out on their ride. Byron’s Septic Service of Andover is donating the use of a handicapped porto-potty for the occasion.  The Andover 4th of July Committee will hang patriotic signage along the trail. The Andover Historical Society is allowing use of their grounds for the event.  And the  Friends of the Northern Rail Trail (FNRT) will mow the trail sides and are delighted that disabled citizens are making use of the rail trail, whose features give these athletes easy access to the outdoors.
For more information on the event contact Kelly Cossaboom at kelly.cossaboom@va.gov.  For more information on the Northern Rail Trail, downloadable maps and membership opportunities visit www.fnrt.org.