Two Pirate alumni military veterans have been chosen for a trip that will help those wounded in combat gain camaraderie and confidence.
George Kalinowski ’67 and Roger Smith ’04 will head to the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Colorado in August thanks to the East Carolina Alumni Association and our partners at the non-profit No Boundaries.
“I am excited about being selected for the trip and at 71 hope to keep up with the younger guys,” says Kalinowski, who served as a sergeant in the Army during the Vietnam War on the Cambodia border from July 1969 to July 1970. He was awarded a Purple Heart due to numerous shrapnel wounds from an RPG round, as well as several other awards. He currently lives in California.
Smith says, “I’m not good in public places, but I like to be outdoors. I figured it was time to do something and get out.” He served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is dealing with several issues including PTSD, traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, stress-related migraines and others. Smith was born to military parents in California and grew up in Japan. His father’s last station brought him to Jacksonville, NC, where he graduated high school and has since returned after his service.
“I didn’t know things like this existed,” Smith said. “I’ve never done anything with Wounded Warriors; they get a lot of press. I’m not trying to be in the spotlight. I like that this is a small group. I think it’s a great opportunity to do things outside and be around guys and girls with similar experiences. I hope I can learn something.”
Kalinowski and Smith will get two of the ten spots available on this trip, which is offered twice a year to combat wounded veterans from around the country. (This is the first year No Boundaries is partnering with the East Carolina Alumni Association). All adaptive sporting activities at the NSCD – which include kayaking, zip lining, rock climbing, and more – are tailored specifically for veterans’ needs and are supervised by trained staff. There is no cost to participants, since the No Boundaries program is completely covered by donations. Flights, transportation, lodging, meals, and activities are included.
Be sure to follow The Chantey and alumni association social media for more updates on this exciting journey!