The National Ability Center’s annual Saluting Our Heroes luncheon, which has become a tradition over the past decade, is changing this year.
The celebration that typically takes place on Veterans Day at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City is turning into an online debut contest called Salute Your Hero, due to the novel coronavirus, said Carey Cusimano, director of development at the NAC.
“It has become a reality for us that putting more than 650 people in one room is not the wisest thing to do, as many of the people we serve have compromised immune systems,” Cusimano said. “The last thing we want to do is put their health at risk.”
Participating in Salute Your Hero is simple, according to Cusimano.
“We want community members to name their heroes, whether they are first responders, medical workers or veterans, for their sacrifices in the service of our country,” she said.
Nomination forms, which must be sent by October 30, are available at Discovernac.org/salute-votre-héros.
“Nominees will be reviewed by teams at the National Ability Center and, on Veterans Day, we announce two winners via email and on NAC social media accounts,” Cusimano said.
Winners will receive complimentary health and wellness trips to the National Ability Center Ranch.
Winners will enjoy recognition with adaptable recreation sessions, meals and the chance to stay in the NAC pavilion, Cusimano said.
“We are already receiving great stories and nominees,” she said. “And it’s at the point where we want to reward every nomination that has walked through the door.”
The Salute Your Hero plan was put in place in August, after more than five months of COVID-19 restrictions, Cusimano said.
“Salute Your Hero is always able to honor those who have served our country, and it also gives us the opportunity to reach out to our key partners and ask for their support,” she said.
In addition to Salute Your Hero, the National Ability Center will be setting up the Field of Flags November 9-16 just outside the Miner’s Hospital in City Park.
“The display will feature more than 150 flags that will honor serving members, veterans and first responders,” Cusimano said. “Members of the community can come out and see the beautiful flags and take a moment to reflect and appreciate those who have sacrificed themselves for them.”
Serving and honoring veterans is at the heart of the association’s mission, she said.
The NAC started 30 years ago with a $ 5,000 grant to fund ski lessons for veterans at Park City Mountain Resort.
Since then, the association’s reach has expanded through year-round one-to-one classes, family camps and retreats, and adventure programs that serve more than 1,500 veterans per year, according to the operations manager. , Acasia Gibson.
These programs aim to heal veterans and their families, Cusimano said.
“They connect via a ropes course or by skiing at the resort,” she said. “Not only do we want our military participants to experience these things. We are also coming back and reintegrating outdoor recreation into their lives.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Ability Center has been able to offer social distance programs for veterans and others of all abilities, Cusimano said.
“We do individual programs and have brought in many groups of veterans,” she said. “We live in a very isolated time and we are here to keep people connected and active. “