Fort Drum Post Scores with Sled Hockey Program

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By JoAnne Castagna, Ed.D.

4Last year, Mark McKenna, Project Engineer, USACE, New York District and SAME Fort Drum Post Secretary, was working out at the gym at Fort Drum in Watertown where he saw a soldier in a wheelchair go in just to have to turn back and leave. He asked the gym manager what they do for the disabled, because they cannot reach the pull up bar nor the dumbbells. McKenna was told that they had nothing organized for people with disability.

McKenna, a volunteer hockey coach for over 30 years, had learned through his research that sled hockey is an adaptive sport for the disabled. He formed a sled hockey team at Fort Drum for disabled soldiers to fill the gap. He and a team of volunteers quickly went to work to form a team and find equipment. “During sled hockey tournaments, wounded veterans can forget about their disability as they learn this new sport that they can still play in a different way. They also have fun doing some team building; it was like they were kids again,” said McKenna.

SAME Fort Drum Post and other organizations such as Canton Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1231 and the Knights of Columbus provided donations to the sled hockey program at Fort Drum in Watertown, N.Y.

Dr. JoAnne Castagna is a Public Affairs Specialist and Writer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. She can be reached at joanne.castagna@usace.army.mil. Follow her on Twitter at @writer4usacenyc All photos courtesy of Lenney Photography.

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