Anyone Can Benefit
Nice introduction to adaptive recreation [“Summer Outdoor Programs for All,” June 2016]. There is no excuse not to live an active lifestyle, and organizations like Bay Area Outreach and Recreation in the San Francisco Bay area, as well as others across the country, can do wonders at modifying their equipment to get almost anyone on a bike, boat or sled. The only downside is figuring out how you’re going to get that shit-eating grin off your face at the end of the day.
Wilderness Inquiry is a fantastic organization that provides exhilarating outdoor opportunities for persons of all abilities [“Summer Outdoor Programs for All,” June 2017]. Prior to my C5-6 injury, I backpacked through many mountains and paddled many rivers. When I learned of WI post-injury, I was excited but very doubtful that I was capable of participating in any wilderness activities. However, the many canoe trips I’ve taken with WI — in the Florida Everglades, Minnesota Boundary Waters, New York Adirondacks and on Maine rivers — have stimulated my pre-injury sense of adventure and allowed me to experience again the wonders of wilderness.
Hybrid Body Cooling System
I’ve used a battery-powered body cooling system that police/military use in bomb disposal suits [“Temperature Control,” June 2017]. Paired with a cooling shirt used by race car drivers (not the type with the pressure prone tubing, but the ones with bladders on front and back instead) I have been able to be out in open summer sun in 90 degrees-plus weather for hours. Not a cheap bundle, but definitely worth it.
Choose the Right Boat
Our Grady White works great for me, even out on Lake Erie [“Accessible Power Boats for Fishing,” Motorvation, June 2017]. If you look on YouTube, there are all kinds of boats that have been modified in some way that can give you an idea of where to start with your choice of boat type.
Burnard Barney III
Flying Access Must Change
I have been a paraplegic for 31 years. I flew for business at least once a month for 10 years. I finally gave up flying because of the number of problems I encountered [“The Real Fear of Flying,” Everyday Advocacy, June 2017]. I have been through everything from being removed from the airplane because I could not transfer over a non-movable armrest — after requesting a movable armrest seat — to being dropped while in the aisle chair no less than three times. The aisle chair itself is an issue for me because at 6 foot 4 inches and 300 pounds I’m not your average-sized person. Imagine sitting on an aisle chair being that size. It’s laughable. Transferring is not the issue because I am very mobile, it is the size of the chair!
The laws and access to air flight are outdated and not acceptable and must change. There is technology out there that will allow wheelchair users to remain in their chairs, yet because the technology takes up two seats, the airlines are refusing to add them to their fleet.
The True Alphas
There may or may not be such a thing as “alpha males.” If there are, they are not the yapping curs that we misclassify as “alphas” [“The Alpha Male is Back,” Raising a Ruckus, June 2017]. They are individuals whose strength of character and personality encourage other individuals to follow. Lieutenant General Harold Moore (Ret.) typifies in one way the true “alpha” presence. He was the commander of the first big engagement in Vietnam. He led his troops into a horrific battle — first one in and last one out. We attended an Independence Bowl a few years back where he received some kind of honorific at half time. In all of the din and halftime bafflegab, when it became his turn to speak, amazingly his command presence quieted the crowd. Somehow it was easy to understand, without even knowing who this guy was, that he was no yapping cur.
I had a similar experience working in a deep mine that was flooding. I was responsible for the pumps that, at the time, were not keeping up. One of our vice presidents, who had decades of experience in difficult and dangerous situations, sat down next to me on the main pump station and inquired as to my assessment of the situation — which I thought was dire. He assured me that he had seen worse and that my decisions would pull us through. He was right. This soft-spoken, kindly old man did not bark like a yapping dog. He led.
When the chips are down, the true alphas are at the front of the pack, taking care of business and the pack. That is hardly an apt description of today’s self-serving alphas.