Wounded Warriors win first prize in Sail To Prevail Belle Haven Challenge Cup

On Sunday, June 21, disabled Armed Forces veterans from Connecticut and New York served as active crew members on two of four vintage America’s Cup 12-meter yachts sailing on Long Island Sound. The memorable day of healing and camaraderie for the 12 veterans fulfilled the mission of Sail To Prevail, which for the third consecutive year had a veterans’ team sponsored by Bank of America.

Founded in 1982, Sail To Prevail has created opportunities for over 15,000 disabled children and adults to use sailing as an experience to overcome adversity in their lives. The organization has a growing commitment to serving veterans and works closely with the Paralyzed Veterans of America in hosting therapeutic sailing programs, as well as advanced racing clinics and regattas.

Joining these disabled veterans were Bank of America employees, including members of the company’s Disability Advocacy Network and Military Support & Assistance Group, which collaborated with Goodwill Industries and Wounded Warriors to provide this unique experience for the veterans. For the past three years, the United War Veterans Council has graciously provided transportation for veterans to this event. Four teams competed off Greenwich Harbor in heated races in the America’s Cup racing sailboats American Eagle, Weatherly, Nefertiti and Intrepid. Bank of America’s boat, Weatherly, the 1962 America’s Cup winner, came in first in three races and second in a fourth, earning First Place in the regatta.

At the awards ceremony, spirits were high as veterans, Bank of America employees and Sail To Prevail donors shared their stories about the day. Sail To Prevail CEO Paul Callahan presented the 17th Annual Belle Haven Challenge Cup to Team Weatherly and its crew of disabled veterans.

Ed Iannone, a U.S. Navy veteran and Bank of America employee who helped sail the winning boat, said, “It is amazing how Bank of America’s employee networks bring opportunities to our associates and those impacted with disabilities. My son and I were able to share a day on the water with other veterans who, like myself, would not have this memorable opportunity.”

Diana Brassell, a Hamden, CT, veteran said, “As a veteran with low vision it can be difficult to actively engage in community activities. Today, I felt empowered and among new friends.”

Sail To Prevail CEO Paul Callahan shared his own story with the veterans. “After I broke my neck in college, there were many people who helped me, which gave me the strength to go on to graduate school and to a career at Goldman Sachs. A former U.S. Marine taught me to sail at Sail To Prevail, and this experience allowed me to be an athlete again. When I agreed to become CEO of Sail To Prevail, I knew it was my turn to provide as many opportunities as possible for disabled people to overcome their daily life challenges. I am thankful to Bank of America for investing in you, our veterans, and Sail To Prevail.”

“Year after year, the inspiring Belle Haven Challenge gives our heroes the opportunity to show the full range of their abilities and gives us the chance to express our thanks for their service,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president for Bank of America. “Partnering with Sail To Prevail and similar organizations is a great way to illustrate that people can achieve anything they put their mind to when the right resources and support are behind them.”

To learn more about Sail To Prevail, its therapeutic sailing programs and events such as the Belle Haven Challenge Cup, visit www.sailtoprevail.org or contact Paul Callahan at (401) 849.8898. Sail To Prevail is a nonprofit organization and accepts charitable contributions to support its work with disabled children, adults and veterans.

About Bank of America’s Support for the Military

Support for the military has been an integral part of Bank of America’s culture for more than 90 years. That support permeates every aspect of the business, from hiring to philanthropy, volunteerism and products and services for military customers. Bank of America is committed to supporting the military by recruiting and retaining military employees. The bank has hired 7,000 veterans since 2010 and will maintain that pace to hire 10,000 over the next several years. The bank also supports veterans through partnerships with organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project, the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, Student Veterans of America and the George W. Bush Institute. Since 2009, Bank of America has provided more than $14 million in financial support to military nonprofits. In 2014 nearly 5,000 employees contributed more than 50,000 volunteer hours to support veterans and the military.

Bank of America employee volunteers and disabled Armed Forces veterans sail together during the Sail to Prevail’s Belle Haven Challenge Cup, where vets from Connecticut and New York served as active crewmembers on two of four vintage America’s Cup 12-meter yachts sailing on Long Island Sound.

Bank of America employee volunteers and disabled Armed Forces veterans sail together during the Sail to Prevail’s Belle Haven Challenge Cup, where vets from Connecticut and New York served as active crewmembers on two of four vintage America’s Cup 12-meter yachts sailing on Long Island Sound.

A group of Bank of America employee volunteers and disabled Armed Forces veterans share their excitement of winning first place in Sail to Prevail’s Belle Haven Challenge Cup on June 21 in Greenwich.

A group of Bank of America employee volunteers and disabled Armed Forces veterans share their excitement of winning first place in Sail to Prevail’s Belle Haven Challenge Cup on June 21 in Greenwich.

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