San Diego, CA

I was honored to be the guest speaker at Friday night’s first annual Challenged America Gala dinner sponsored by West Marine. Honored because the mountains I have climbed in sailing are molehillls in comparison to what these disabled sailors do!

President and co-founder of Challenged America Urban Miyares is a Vietnam Vet who lost his eyesight to agent orange. He was bowman when Challenged America fielded an entry in both the 2003 and 2005 Transpacs!! The foundation actively operates ten specially equiped Martin 16’s out of Shelter Island in San Diego. Last year they had 1,000 disabled people out sailing. Disabled people who go sailing often say that it is the most therapeutic activity they do. Challenged America also supports research to develop the mechnism that allows the boats to be sailed by disabled sailors. They have a member who can only use his toungue and lips, and he has sailed solo!!

The stories are fascinating and a true testimony to the human spirit, as well as the will to overcome. I was in awe of these people and just honored to be in their company.

Kudos to West Marine for supporting this very worthy cause and all those individuals who have done so much to build Challenged America over the past 31 years.

There is much more that they do. Check out Challenged America at www.challengedamerica.org