Miracle on the Mountain
Calhoun and Lujan overcame their disabilities to become Team USA Paralympic skiers. Their post-injury athletic careers began at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Aspen, Colorado. The clinic, which began in 1987, hosts veterans with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, certain neurological conditions and other disabilities for a week of training and rehabilitation. The clinic empowers these American heroes to defy the perceived limitations by participating in adaptive sports that improve their overall health and outlook.
Every year, United flies hundreds of veterans, along with their family members and coaches, to Aspen for the week-long clinic. This year, Calhoun and Lujan returned to Aspen for the first time in years, back to where the rest of their lives originally began.
Heath Calhoun was severely wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his Humvee while serving in Iraq, resulting in the amputation of both of his legs above the knee.
Jon Lujan was injured while serving in Iraq. His subsequent surgery damaged his spinal cord, causing permanent nerve damage and paralysis in his lower legs. His movement is restricted and has left him with no feeling below his knees.