FIND SOLACE IN FLIGHT
The Uplift Union is a committed group of veterans, instructors, and pilots who are dedicated to getting handicapped veterans and their families in the air. We teach them to fly so that they can experience the joy, the singularity of focus, and the sense of community that spans people who paraglide.
Our goal is to create a community of veterans who can find peace in the sky.
Our goal is help them realize that their sacrifices will not hold them back from anything.
Our goal is to give them something back.
THE STORY OF THE UPLIFT UNION
The Uplift Union was created in the service of our Wounded Veteran and Gold Star family communities. Our goal is first and foremost to lift them up and give them a means to lift one another.
While spending a month at Walter Reed National Medical Center I witnessed an endless procession of wounded and forever changed service members, most of them young, who had just had their lives altered forever. For some it was a leg… or their legs, an arm, an eye, the configurations are endless. Life had trampled a lot of these folks very recently and circumstance had done everything short of killing them to stamp out their fire. With some, sadly, it does, thus our high suicide rate amongst vets. In a blast or an impact they’ve lost their community, their livelihood, their physicality, their independence and identity. For the Gold Star families, their sacrifice is no smaller. They’ve lost dad, or mom. A brother, a sister. Their child.
Most of them however, refuse to be stamped out. You see it in their faces. You see it in the way they force a smile when they stand up on their new prosthetic for the first time. You can tell it hurts but they grin, like a boxer that just took a good punch and wants to tell his opponent that he’s not phased. You see it in the way they tell stories about their loved and lost and keep their memory alive and burning bright. Their fires might be momentarily flickering but there are always embers waiting for fuel.
Our goal at The Uplift Union is to address the loss of community and sense of independence. Many pilots whether BASE jumpers, speedwingers, skydivers or paragliders are current or former military, namely because the flying communities of the world have many parallels that mimic the communities of the military in many ways.
Paragliding can be a new physical skill for wounded vets and Gold Star family members which they can do on their own. Something to show them that they’ve not yet found their limit, so…. what else is possible?! Paragliding will bring them out doors, around people who share a similar love for action, to a place they can form deep meaningful connection with their surroundings and those they share the freedom of the air with. The Uplift Union exists so that they can show themselves that even if they can no longer walk….they can still fly. We’re here to turn falling into flying.
Our veterans have given so much for us, sometimes in ways that simply can’t be bought or given back. Paragliding has been an effective form of therapy that grants a renewed joy in life and the experience of it all. Bringing that joy to the veterans who need it most is our mission.