We are excited at the MIlitary Families and Veterans Initiative to congratulate partner Greg Lais for his recently being named the Wilderness Education Association's 2012 Paul K. Petzold Award for outstanding acheivement in outdoor leadership!
Greg is the co-founder and executive director of Wilderness Inquiry (WI). WI is partnering with the Sierra Club's Mission Outdoors to get miltiary families and veterans outside as well as partnering with us and the University of Michigan to research the benefits of the outdoors for the military and veteran community.
Wildernss Inquiry has a history of working with the military and veteran population. From their website:
In the 1990s, WI led a major support program for the Agent Orange Class Assistance Program. This past year WI partnered with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation and Craig Hospital to serve veterans and their families on a five-day kayaking adventure. WI also provides outdoor experiences through sponsored veteran exchange trips. Every year we serve about 800 veterans through our trips and programs.
These many years of serving our veterans have only proven and strengthened our mission to provide the kind of enjoyment, learning, and healing that shared outdoor adventure can provide. One veteran who completed an Everglades trip believes the outdoors not only builds healing, but also provides team-building and personal growth:
"Being a Vietnam veteran, I have always avoided prolonged exposure to rain and getting wet. Being with others of my same bent helped me overcome this issue. I was dry, snug, and comfortable despite the environment. Sometimes, only nature can provide the right challenges at the right time."
WI is commited to developing programs that focus on these kinds of opportunities for veterans as well as making it financially possible for all veterans to enjoy our trips.
We are excited to partner with Greg and the entire WI team and join others in raising our hands in a rowdy round of applause for Greg!
An excerpt of the press release is below wth added brackets, while the full press release can be downloaded here: Download Lais_MN_WEA_award
Paul K. Petzoldt, for whom the WEA award is named, was a legendary Wyoming mountaineer, guide and outdoor educator. He climbed the Grand Teton in 1924—wearing cowboy boots. He was a member of the first American expedition to scale K2 in the Himalayas in1938 and served in the U.S. Army’s famed 10th Mountain Division in World War II. He was the chief instructor of the first Outward Bound program in the U.S. and went on to found both the National Outdoor Leadership School and the Wilderness Education Association.
Lais joins an impressive list of past recipients of the WEA’s Petzoldt Award, including Yvon Chouinard, environmentalist and founder of the Patagonia Co.; Glenn Exum, another famed Teton mountaineer; David Brower, one of the 20th Century’s most influential environmentalists [and former Sierra Club executive director!]; and, Bill McKibben, author and environment activist.
Lais and his wife, Patti Thurber, a teacher in the Saint Paul Public Schools, live in Minneapolis and have two children, Rosie and Martin.
~Stacy Bare, OIF Veteran
Military Families and Veteran Representative to the Sierra Club
"Helping America's Military and Veteran Community experience the freedom of the land they defend"