To commemorate September 11, a group of disabled vets worked together to climb several peaks at
. Yosemite National Park
The group of 15 military veterans, most of whom served in
and Afghanistan, climbed to the
summits of El Capitan and Half Dome, in a
climb sponsored by nonprofit Paradox Sports, an
adaptive sports organization. The climb was planned to honor veterans and the
many achievements of people with disabilities.
"These successful climbs are just one more example that disabled vets can do anything they set their minds to," stated disabled-veteran attorney James Fausone.
Hiking to the top of El Capitan is possible by hiking out of
and then up a sheer granite face. There are a number of well-used climbing
routes; all of them are considered arduous. Hiking Half Dome is helped in part
by the established cable route, but the climb is considered difficult and
dangerous even at the best of times.
rangers accompanied the veterans on the climbs as part of a three-day hike, as
did professional climbers Timmy O’Neill and Heidi Wirtz. O'Neill is also the
Executive Director of Paradox Sports. The group was joined by several Yosemite National Park employees
and veterans. An event to commemorate the climbs was held in Yosemite
Valley several days later.
There is an active Special Emphasis Program for armed services veterans utilized by
National Park services employs 105 military
veterans through the program, designed to educate, recruit and employ vets. Yosemite National Park
The Special Emphasis Program was designed as a federal program to support affirmative employment opportunities by pinpointing the barriers employers and employees face when it comes to a diverse workplace that reflects the diversity of the general population. Once identified, Special Emphasis Program managers work on recommendations to remove those employment barriers and incorporate strategies to help all types of people find gainful employment.
The Special Emphasis Program works on development, outreach and various recruitment strategies to improve the employment opportunities for minorities, women, and people with disabilities.