Last month, veterans and service members from across America came to Aspen for Military Ski Week. It included a small group of women veterans working on a new mission.
Over three days, about a dozen female veterans, led by Zaneta Adams, planned a new network: the Military Sisterhood Initiative. Its goal is to connect women to each other and to resources for everything from mental health services to retreats like those offered by Challenge Aspen.
Adams said that organization is part of the inspiration behind the Military Sisterhood Initiative — and why she chose to launch the new program here in Aspen. Her first trip to the Roaring Fork Valley came a few years after she was injured while training to deploy for Operation Iraqi Freedom. She crushed discs and nerves in a fall from a 10-foot truck. She was told she’d never walk again but slowly regained function while sinking into depression.
“I actually ended up coming to a Challenge Aspen retreat for women veterans in 2009, and that kind of sparked change in my life that you can see today. With that retreat, I was able to see other women who either, in my mind, they were in a worse predicament than I was," Adams said. "They were missing limbs, their husbands had left them because they were not the same as when they went in. And I looked at my life and I said, ‘how blessed am I?’ and also, ‘how can I help them?’ And so that kind of helped me get out of my depression.”
Adams has partnered with Challenge America, a sister organization of Challenge Aspen, to launch the Military Sisterhood Initiative.