To the Editor:
Two years ago I suffered a traumatic accident that took my right leg and left me paralyzed from the waist down. After much physical therapy and with the love and support of family, friends, and neighbors I can now take care of myself, drive myself around in a modified van, and work part time. Another key piece of my recovery and future survival though is recreational activity. How incredible is it then that the LOF Adaptive Skiers program that people with all types of disabilities will drive over 100 miles to get to, is right here in my town?
I was introduced to LOF and took my first ride on a mono-ski with a seat for paraplegics on Lake Zoar last summer. I was a little apprehensive at first but then ten seconds into my first ride I knew this was for me. It worked my abdominal muscles, arms, and shoulders and was just plain fun. But LOF is about more than just exercise for the disabled. There are approximately 100 people who volunteer each season to make it work, most of whom live in or around Newtown. These people have a passion for helping others and creating a culture of charity, hope, and faith in their community. They believe in paying it forward and passing these values down to the next generation. Many high school students who have volunteered have ended up going on to careers in physical therapy, sports medicine, and services for the handicapped.
Unfortunately, this charitable organization that benefits so many with so much positive energy from the community and over 25 years of experience now finds itself at odds with its hometown for its very survival.LOF has been offering to engage in a constructive process with the town to identify options for a permanent home along Newtown’s extensive shoreline that does not unreasonably impose on its neighbors. However, the town leaders have decided to instead seek an injunction in court against LOF, its volunteers, and its beneficiaries from engaging in any activity in Newtown. The question should not be how can we shut it down, but rather how can we make it work. Newtown is better than this and as a town we need to tell our leaders that we want a solution, not a lawsuit.
9 Marlin Road, Sandy Hook April 16, 2018
Editor’s note: See related story in this week’s print edition of The Newtown Bee.