Giving Back to the Veteran Community
Published on June 24th, 2015
Disabled Armed Forces veterans from Connecticut and New York gathered June 21 as active crewmembers on vintage America’s Cup 12-meter yachts for the Sail To Prevail Belle Haven Challenge Cup. Held on Long Island Sound, the memorable day of healing and camaraderie for the 12 veterans fulfilled the mission of Sail To Prevail, which for the third consecutive year had a veterans’ team sponsored by Bank of America.
Founded in 1982, Sail To Prevail has created opportunities for over 15,000 disabled children and adults to use sailing as an experience to overcome adversity in their lives. The organization has a growing commitment to serving veterans and works closely with the Paralyzed Veterans of America in hosting therapeutic sailing programs, as well as advanced racing clinics and regattas.
Joining these disabled veterans were Bank of America employees, including members of the company’s Disability Advocacy Network and Military Support & Assistance Group, which collaborated with Goodwill Industries and Wounded Warriors to provide this unique experience for the veterans.
Four teams competed off Greenwich Harbor on American Eagle, Weatherly, Nefertiti and Intrepid.
“It is amazing how Bank of America’s employee networks bring opportunities to our associates and those impacted with disabilities,” said Ed Iannone, a U.S. Navy veteran and Bank of America employee. “My son and I were able to share a day on the water with other veterans who, like myself, would not have this memorable opportunity.”
Veteran Diana Brassell agreed with the sentiment. “As a veteran with low vision it can be difficult to actively engage in community activities. Today, I felt empowered and among new friends.”
Sail To Prevail CEO Paul Callahan shared his own story with the veterans. “After I broke my neck in college, there were many people who helped me, which gave me the strength to go on to graduate school and to a career at Goldman Sachs. A former U.S. Marine taught me to sail at Sail To Prevail, and this experience allowed me to be an athlete again. When I agreed to become CEO of Sail To Prevail, I knew it was my turn to provide as many opportunities as possible for disabled people to overcome their daily life challenges.”
“Year after year, the inspiring Belle Haven Challenge gives our heroes the opportunity to show the full range of their abilities and gives us the chance to express our thanks for their service,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president for Bank of America.