Jeffery Denney is an amazing man with an even more amazing story. Last year, Denney was a professional skier training for the Sochi Olympic Games. He also volunteered with the N.A.C. little did he know, a year later the organization would end up returning the favor
This weekend is the one year anniversary of the day Jeffery lost his leg.
"I lost an edge on a blue groomer, and I don't ever think about falling on a groomer and slid off the run and hit a tree. I ended up slamming my leg so bad that they weren't able to repair it and had to amputate it below the knee," Denney said.
That was just one day after he volunteered for Red White and Snow 2012. It’s also where Jeffery’s journey began. As he sat in the hospital wondering if he'd ever ski again, hope walked through his door.
"The Ability Center came to me in the hospital and was like you got to get involved," he said.
Jeffery immediately went from volunteer to athlete. Thanks to his great N.A.C. coaches, and a really cool carbon fiber leg, Jeffery got back on the hill.
"I was back on skis less than 8 months out of the hospital," he said.
But, this athlete still had his sights set on Sochi, and the only way to do that was learn how to board.
"If you would have told me a year ago I would be doing a snowboarding competition I would be like, why? I'm terrible at snowboarding! But I don't know, you put some time and effort into it and I’m not so bad at it," Denney said.
The N.A.C. doesn't just help professional athletes like Jeffery; they help people of all abilities achieve what they once thought was impossible.
"When we have them come to the national ability center we can say, alright you might not be able to do this somewhere else, but here you can do this with your family," said Jess Roising with the N.A.C.
Whether they want to ski, ride horses, or navigate an obstacle course, the N.A.C. makes it possible. Jeffery says he now gets his inspiration from the people around him.
"I and guys that am in wheelchairs that can go rip on their sit skis I mean I’m only missing part of a leg, this is going to be easy, let’s go join ya," he said with a chuckle.
It’s a humble outlook, from an extraordinary man.
The National Ability Center serves more than 2,500 people with disabilities each year. A large portion of the money to pay for that comes from the Red White and Snow fundraiser. If you would like to help, click here.