MAP NEWSLETTER - October 2016
Meet MAP Veteran Athlete Sean Johnson!
On August 5th the MAP 2016 Donor Adventure Team embarked on a journey of a lifetime. They traveled across country to Oregon’s beautiful Rogue River Valley to spend five days and four nights on the scenic and wild stretch of the Rogue River, a trip fondly referred to as “MAP the Rogue”. The team consisted of MAP staff & supporters, and veteran Sean Johnson.
Sean is a below the knee amputee who knows no bounds. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Sean was shot in the back and paralyzed from the waist down in 1993. Told he would never walk again, Sean worked hard and eventually regained the use of his left leg. A below the knee amputation would eventually be required on the paralyzed leg, and Sean underwent the necessary surgery in 2012. He credits this change for the better, and went onto win 2 Gold Medals and a Bronze Medal in the 2013 National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Not only did Sean run the Rogue River with MAP in 2016, he took home the award for “Most Successful Rock Jump.”
While this was Sean’s second time kayaking, it was his first in rough waters. “It was a real challenge, really. I actually did very well. No involuntary dips in the river all week. Bravo me! I felt confident going in because our guides were really cool and patient with their training. They helped me make the necessary adjustments to counter-balance the kayak when not wearing my prosthetic. Adaptive sports at its best! I am always grateful for those who make being able to participate and have incredible support doing it a possibility. It’s something every abled and differently-abled person should experience. I’ve had many incredible experiences, but this one was by far the most appreciated.”
While Sean was greatly impacted by this trip, his presence had the same affect on many of his teammates. “I think my most powerful moment was watching Sean jump in a kayak and ride the rapids and then jumping off a cliff that was a little scary to the average person, meaning me.” Recounts Laurane Santoro, “I learned a great lesson on that trip, to never, ever let fear get the best of me. Motto: 1, 2, 3...GO!!”
MAP the Rogue was the Military Assistance Project’s second Adventure Team journey, and solidified the tradition of joining adaptive athletes and veterans with civilian community partners in outdoor pursuits, all in the name of raising awareness and funds to better the mission of MAP. Sean was sponsored by the law firm of Ciardi, Ciardi, and Astin.
“Sponsoring a veteran provides them with a truly special experience that benefits their mind, body and soul,” says Julie Nugent. “Veterans on this trip get to see a part of the world they may not otherwise be able to see without the assistance of MAP. They are able to accomplish things on the Adventure trips that they may not even attempt to do, without the assurance and encouragement of community partners. Veterans get to meaningfully connect with community members, which is equally important as overcoming their physical hurdles. These connections are equally beneficial to the community partners as it is to the veteran.”
For more information on how you can sponsor a Veteran for our next Adventure, the Salmon River Run, click here.
VA Health Application by Phone
Military Times - Veterans can now apply for Veterans Affairs health benefits over the phone. The VA published a final regulation on Monday that allows former service members to complete VA health care applications by calling 877-222-8387.
Give Kids Sight Day
Come out on Saturday, October 29th from 8:30am – 1:00pm for Free Eye Care for Kids at Jefferson Alumni Hall. The free exam is available for children 17 years and under, from Philadelphia and surrounding counties, who have not had, or who have not passed, an eye screening and/or who are uninsured. Children must come with a parent or guardian. Please arrive early and allow for a few fun-filled hours.
For more information
Call: 215-563-5848 x21
Visit: Give Kids Sight Day
2016 Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award
Please come out to Rutgers University- Camden Campus on Thursday, October 20th from 6pm-9pm for the 31st Annual Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award.
This year honorees are Michael Taub and Joshua Piccoli, who will be memorialized with a Philbrook Student Public Interest Award. Josh was a United States Marine who was served our country in Kuwait, Iraq, Baghdad, and Afghanistan. After his discharge, Josh was enrolled Josh in 2011 as a work study student and was instrumental in promoting the expansion of veterans’ services on campus. As a law student, Josh interned in Hon. Patrick Dugan’s Philadelphia Veterans Court and volunteered in the Law School’s veterans’ and servicemembers pro bono project, a partnership with the Military Assistance Project. His hard work and dedication were driven by his belief: "... that there are certain things that I must do - such as advocating for the veterans - in memory of those guys [Marines in his unit who did not return]. "
Space is limited. Click here for more information and to reserve your tickets.
Criminal Record Expungement Clinic
On Saturday, November 12th from 10am-1pm the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association will be offering a FREE criminal record Expungement & sealing clinic.
If you meet certain requirements, you are eligible to have prior arrests and/or convictions expunged from your legal record and/or sealed from the general public. This can make it easier to get lasting employment and housing. These services are provided by volunteer attorneys and are free of charge.
Space is limited. To make an appointment, please follow the link below to complete a confidential screening form and make your appointment. Registration will close Nov. 10. Walk-in appointments who have not completed the screening form will be very limited and are not guaranteed an appointment.
For more information or to register, click here.