There is a great story about Chris Devlin-Young in the “Coast Guard Compass,” the official blog of the U.S. Coast Guard. Devlin-Young, a former Coast Guard aviator, is an uber successful international alpine ski racer and member of the U.S. Paralympic team. He also serves as an advisor to the board of directors of the Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports Program and for eight years he has been the house manager for Waterville Valley’s theatre company, Shakespeare in the Valley.
The story, written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell, who recently spent time with Chris at his home in Bethlehem, NH, details how Chris became paralyzed and his transformation from a bitter young man into a world champion athlete.
“Can I give you a hand?” I watch a 10-time world champion struggle to unload his mono-ski form the back of his car.
“I’m fine, I got this,” he replies.
Everything I was taught when I was raised is conflicting with my job to photograph this man. I want to help him, to make this challenge easier. He is independent, but he is struggling. His breath is frozen as he pulls out a worn duffle bag filled with clothes and gear. His black wheelchair rolls away from him while he props himself up against the car. I put my camera down and roll it back to him.
“Thanks,” he says.
The airport in New Hampshire, it’s 3:30 a.m. and it’s pitch black. His green Subaru wagon, loaded with his skis, gear and crutches sits in a handicapped stall in the long-term parking lot. The juxtaposition of watching a world champion unload his own car makes me pause. He is leaving to go to Colorado to train for the Paralympics World Cup.
Chris Devlin-Young reflects on winning 10 world championships in the paralympic monoski event. Devlin-Young was a Coast Guard aviator prior to a tragic crash. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell.
Read the complete story here at the Coast Guard Compass.