Dennis R. Nixon, National Commander

Dedication is the driver of success

Many of you would probably agree that 33 years is a long, successful run for any venture, whether it’s a television series, small business or even a marriage. But no matter the type of undertaking, I’ve found one common characteristic that leads to each endeavor’s success: dedication.

For disabled veterans, that sentiment has had no better example over the past three decades than the annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, which takes place March 31–April 5 this year in Snowmass, Colo., and provides veterans with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, neurological disabilities, blindness and amputations the opportunity to participate in Nordic and Alpine skiing and snowboarding, rock climbing, scuba diving, sled hockey, snowmobiling and a wide range of other activities.

The clinic is widely known as Miracles on a Mountainside, and there is simply no way to argue against the truthfulness of that moniker. However, these miracles do not simply appear out of thin air. Rather, they are the result of the dedication of the many selfless souls who coordinate and volunteer at the event.

As an amputee myself, I know the value of a support structure in the aftermath of a life-changing injury. I doubt it’s any different for the event’s nearly 400 participants as they work to regain a sense of normalcy themselves.

From the hundreds of volunteers and ski instructors who so freely give up their time to help disabled veterans to DAV and the VA’s unwavering support as co-hosts of the event, dedication to the cause of helping others has led to the clinic’s success for 33 years now and, undoubtedly, will continue to do so for decades to come.

So to those who work behind the scenes at the clinic, I want to say thank you. Your dedication to the event and to America’s disabled veterans will, once again, lead to many more successes and victories on the slopes.

I also understand that not everyone can be actively involved in the clinic, but that doesn’t mean you cannot dedicate yourself to help disabled veterans achieve success closer to home.

As National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst points out on Page 18, DAV’s web-based community makes it easier for individuals to find volunteer opportunities through a searchable online database. The tool helps connect those willing to volunteer with those in need of help. Whether it’s picking up items from the grocery store for a veteran or a caregiver, doing yard work or simply giving a severely disabled veteran someone to talk to, the opportunities that can be acted upon can make a tremendous impact on the lives of our nation’s heroes.

Remember, America’s disabled veterans recognize your dedication. They appreciate your efforts. And most importantly, they cherish their personal successes that come from both.


If you want to find out more about the National Commander, you can find his biography here.