Veteran Workforce Scholarship Recipients Share Their Goals
PSIA-AASI members Austin Davis and David Binford received this year’s Veteran Workforce and Education Track scholarship.
In partnership with the 10th Mountain Division Foundation, this scholarship program awards active and non-active military members with funding to support education opportunities to support veterans as they pursue a career pathway in the outdoor industry.
Austin, an Armor Officer in the Army, teaches at Snow Ridge Ski Resort in Turin, New York. He started teaching snowsports after his first winter stationed with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum.
“I started frequenting Snow Ridge and befriended many of the instructors and owners,” said Austin. “I offered to help teach and to serve as a connection with Fort Drum. Now I teach snowboarding to after-school programs and coordinate units from the 10th Mountain to attend Snow Ridge so they can learn how to snowboard or ski.”
He used his scholarship for his AASI Snowboard Level I assessment at Okemo, Vermont. He plans to continue volunteering as an instructor as he pursues a doctorate in physical therapy.
David, who served in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army, was deployed to COP (combat outpost) Monti, Kunar Province, Afghanistan 2010-2011. He teaches at Loon Mountain Resort, New Hampshire, where he is the seasonal programs manager.
“I initially learned to ski in 1988,” said David. “My NCO [non-commissioned officer] saw my depression dealing with winter in the Pacific Northwest, and asked if I knew how to ski. I said, ‘Yeah, waterski,’ so he taught me how to make it down a trail at Crystal Mountain in Washington.”
David said, “I ski and snowboard, but my specialty is teaching those 35 and up how to snowboard without wrecking themselves so they can enjoy the sport with their children and not be concerned with losing time as the wage earner or caregiver of their family.”
He will use his scholarship for to attend National Academy and is working towards his PSIA Level II and Adaptive Level II VI/Cog Snowboard certifications, as well as his Children’s Specialist 1 and Freestyle I credentials.
He added that, “As a disabled combat veteran I strive to live as an example of overcoming the adversity of physical, emotional, and psychological challenges life throws our way. Snowsports allow me to clear my head or focus on the need of someone else who wants to learn. When we operate outside our own ‘selfishness’ or ‘need’ we find out what we ourselves are capable of, because we all have potential.”