NEWPORT, R.I. (May 11, 2015) – MetLife, a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefits programs, will sponsor the MetLife Combat Wounded & Injured Veterans Regatta in partnership with Sail Newport. The regatta is scheduled tomorrow and Wednesday, May 12-13, during the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover in Newport, R.I.
Fourteen veterans from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines will crew for the skippers of the Volvo Ocean Race aboard J/22 sloops. The regatta is part of the Wounded Veterans Retreat Program organized by Army Special Forces Sergeant/Major (Ret.) Nelson Corbin, a veteran of seven years in combat zones.
The veterans all suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Some are amputees and some are wheelchair-bound with a traumatic spinal cord injury, but they all find a sense of purpose in the event-based therapy programs that Corbin organizes.
“My biggest concern is that 22 veterans per day commit suicide throughout the U.S., and I want to affect that number,” said Corbin. “Sailing is the most popular program we run, but also scuba diving, horseback riding or hiking. We get the veterans out and doing things. They get to learn new things, new hobbies, and potentially new careers. If we can continue to get the veterans out and interacting with other veterans and learning new things, that’s when they start to feel worthy again.”
Last fall five of the veterans coming to Newport were in crews that participated in US Sailing’s Disabled National Championship and placed first and second overall in the Sonar B Division after two weeks of training.
“We are proud to sponsor this fun and challenging event focused on improving the lives of wounded veterans,” said John Hele, MetLife executive vice president and chief financial officer. “MetLife and MetLife Foundation have a long-standing commitment to support programs and projects that help veterans and their families who sacrifice so much to preserve our freedom. We hope others will also help or donate to support this great cause.”
The regatta is supported by Wounded Veterans Retreat Program and US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport of sailing. US Sailing is helping the veterans with travel and accommodation costs to Newport.
“I was astonished at how quickly they learned the sport of sailing,” said Betsy Alison, Paralympic Coach for US Sailing. “We see this regatta as an opportunity to showcase what we’re doing with this pipeline program and what’s being done to expand participation in the sport of sailing.”
Racing will take place off the North Lawn of Fort Adams State Park with ample viewing opportunities. A practice session is scheduled tomorrow, 1-4 p.m., with racing scheduled Wednesday, May 13, 2-5 p.m.
Donations may be made to the Wounded Veterans Retreat Program, PO Box 619, Parkton, N.C., 28371, or online by clicking here.