Participants of Sun Valley Adaptive Sports (SVAS) will soon be visiting Mountain Home Air Force Base to interact with able-bodied children who live on the base.
Mountain Home AFB, with a population of approximately 5,000, offers limited medical services for children with significant disabilities. Many Air Force families with disabled children are often assigned to other bases that offer a wider range of medical services. Consequently, on-base children often have limited opportunities to interact with other children who have disabilities.
Children participating in programs offered by SVAS will visit the base for day trips and sleepovers. The base has an award-winning youth center, fitness center, and outdoor recreational center. The base offers waterskiing, whitewater rafting, kayaks, and dozens of other sports and activities. It even has a 32-lane bowling alley and its own movie theater.
“The quality of their facilities is amazing!” says Tom Iselin, executive director of SVAS. “Their fitness center rivals the most prestigious health club and their youth center is the best I’ve ever seen. Additionally, I know our children will have the time of their lives when they get to meet new children, try on flight suits, and watch from the control tower as fighter jets take off and land.”
As part of the partnership, the base has agreed to open its facilities to wounded military service members who visit SVAS’ Higher Ground program, which provides sports and recreation activities as a means of therapeutic recreation for young and men and women who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The base has also agreed to offer its facilities to any Idaho service members who have been severely wounded in the recent conflicts.
Colonel Tony Rock, 366th Fighter Wing Commander, has been inspired by the partnership. “Our partnership with Sun Valley Adaptive Sports is a terrific way for the Air Force is give back to the community and to those who have honorably served our country,” said Colonel Rock.
“We have a beautiful facility here and we’d like to share it. I would like to see Mountain Home AFB become in a leader in this concept of integrating children with disabilities with able-bodied children living on Air Force bases and I would like to champion this idea to other bases around the country,” added Colonel Rock.
Caption idea for photo 1: Taking off with Mountain Home! Sun Valley Adaptive sports team gets a tour of the control tower at Mountain Home AFB. From left to right: Command Chief Master Sergeant, Al Niksich, Cara Barrett, Tom Iselin, Jessie Guilmette, and Senior Master Sergeant, Sean Billett.
Caption idea for photo 2: Taking off with Mountain Home! Staff from Sun Valley Adaptive Sports is suited up with their new partnership with Mountain Home AFB. The team, seen here holding flight helmets costing $100,000 each, received a red carpet tour of the base that included a tour of the wing’s fighter jets, simulators, and night vision devices. From left to right: Cara Barrett, Tom Iselin, and Jessie Guilmette.
Caption for photo 3: All pumped up! Jessie Guilmette, new recreational therapist at Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, feeling the pressure of gravity as her pressurized “g-suit” is pumped up by Staff Sergeant Matthew Pehrson, Life Support Specialist.