Best of America

Richard Reisner: Fun on the Slopes with Vermont Adaptive

Richard ReisnerCourtesy Richard Resiner
Richard Reisner had been going to Vermont for years to ski, so it was no surprise that he relocated there after retiring. But the former chief financial officer for a medical devices company couldn’t just sit still.

When a neighbor invited him to lend a hand at Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching sports to people of all ages with disabilities—including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and Down syndrome—he decided to check it out.

That was seven years ago, and Reisner has been actively involved ever since. He volunteers as a ski coach and guide for the disabled, especially the blind; he has also served as the board’s president and chairs the finance committee. And he’s a coach for a Special Olympics ski team.

“He’s a great guy with a great attitude,” says fellow volunteer Tim Robson, “and the students love him.”

Reisner, 65, faced his own challenge six years ago when he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He undergoes treatment regularly, but he hasn’t let it interfere with his commitment to the kids at Vermont Adaptive (vermontadaptive.org).

“I love coaching,” says Reisner. “It’s fun to see these kids improve every year. This experience helps them emotionally and lifts their spirits. They begin to think, I can do something I didn’t know I could do.”

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