Tag Archives: myTeamTriumph

Catch A Lift Veterans Honor Westport

Nearly 250 years ago Westport patriots battled British soldiers, on their way to and from burning an arsenal in Danbury.

On Friday, more than a dozen military veterans — wounded in wars since 9/11 — came to Westport. They were honored at a Birchwood Country Club fundraiser for Catch a Lift, the foundation that helps them rebuild their lives through physical fitness.

Yesterday they returned the favor. Many of the vets headed to Compo Beach. They served as “angels” — helping children, teens and adults with disabilities in a fun run/walk, through another great organization called myTeamTriumph.

It was a win-win-win weekend: for the veterans, the myTeamTriumph runners and walkers, and the rest of Westport. We are inspired by them all.

When yesterday’s event was over, the Catch a Lift gathered for a “team” photo.

At the cannons, of course.

Catch A Lift, MyTeamTriumph Join Forces Tomorrow. Everyone Wins!

For 5 years, Westport has hosted Catch a Lift fundraisers.

Yet the attendees — wounded post-9/11 service members, who heal physically and mentally thanks to the gym memberships and home fitness equipment the organization provides — give at least as much to Westport, in terms of inspiration and motivation, as they get.

Now they’re going to give even more.

Tonight (Friday, November 8, 7 p.m., Birchwood Country Club) is the CAL gala. There’s great food, beverages, a DJ, video, and more than a dozen Catch a Lift guests of honor.

Catch a Lift veterans, at a Birchwood Country Club event.

Tomorrow (Saturday, November 9, 8:30 a.m.), those same men and women head to Compo Beach.

The combat veterans — all suffering from serious PTSD, some who are double amputees — along with their friends and family members, will push disabled athletes in myTeamTriumph. The event is a fun run, of about 2 miles.

MTT is a program for children, teens and adults with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.

Over the years, Catch a Lift and myTeamTriumph have formed a special bond.

Adam Vengrow — a Westporter, and vice president of the CAL board of directors — has worked closely with mTT board member Andy Berman. Combining their efforts, Vengrow says, demonstrates the power of volunteerism and collaboration.

Andy Berman (left) and Austin enjoy a myTeamTriumph event.

Curt Lueker — another Westporter, who is founder and president of myTeamTriumph — calls the partnership “a unique match.”

Tomorrow’s event is open to anyone who wants to or walk. Click here to sign up.

We welcome our Catch a Lift guests to Westport. And we are awed by what they give us when they’re here.

PS: Last weekend, Berman finished the New York City marathon. For him, this run will be a walk in the park.

Great Team Triumph At Triathlon

Last year, only 1 myTeamTriumph captain participated in the Westport Kiwanis Club Triathlon at Compo Beach.

MTT is a program for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.

What a difference a year makes.

Last weekend, there were 10 captains. Five got out of their wheelchairs and — with assistance from their angels — walked across the finish line. One — a frequent participant in MTT events — crossed on her own feet for the first time.

Another captain completed the entire 5K run by herself. An angel ran beside her.

Over 40 angels and volunteers took part. Nearly half were Westporters.

Here are some scenes from that great day.

Setting up at sunrise.

Captain Wolf finishes the swim.

Another leg of the triathlon.

Many captains are non-verbal. The friendship between Captain Austin and Andy is beyond words.

Captain Alexei switches events.

A determined Captain Sami completes her first walk across the finish line.

Captain Wolf enjoys her trophy.

Captain Bella and her angel are all smiles.

Captain Charlotte and her equally proud dad.

Captain Jack and angel Adam share a special moment.

(For more information on myTeamTriumph — including how to get involved — click here. Hat tips: Karen Strauss-Ziebell, Curtis Lueker and Andy Berman.)

Sami Triumphs With Her Team

Sami is 22 years old. Nonverbal and developmentally delayed, she lives with her family in Westport.

Her mom, Lori Leskin, heard about myTeamTriumph. That’s the program for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.

Last May, “06880” featured MTT in a story on STAR’s 5K Walk, Run & Stroll at Sherwood Island.

Lori wasn’t sure if Sami would like being in a race. But she gave it a try.

From the first moment, Sami loved it. She now gets very excited when she arrives at an event, and sees MTT’s red tents and racing chairs.

Sami Leskin, racing with myTeamTriumph in the Westport Triathlon …

“She loves hearing her name yelled out when she’s on the course, and then coming across the finish line,” notes Curtis Lueker, a Westporter and myTeamTriumph’s Connecticut chapter founder.

“She loves feeling included in the community. That’s what MTT is all about.”

Recently, Sami competed in the Westport Tri — her first triathlon. MyTeamTriumph pulled her in an inflatable boat, then pulled and pushed her through the bike/run.

… and finishing the water portion.

“It was an amazing day,” Curtis says. The highlight came when the team pushed her chair through the Compo Beach sand, crossing the finish line together.

Sami has become a celebrity around town. People know — and admire — her accomplishments, thanks in part to Facebook.

It’s a win-win-win: for Sami, her MTT team, and everyone cheering any race.

(To learn more about myTeamTriumph — including how to volunteer — click here.)