WWII veteran in wheelchair has a need for speed, is able to ski thanks to adaptive program

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With help from an adaptive skiing program, a handicapped 97-year-old WWII veteran is able to ski. 

Ted Stathakis served in World War II and currently lives at the Christoffersen veteran’s home in Salt Lake City. After suffering a stroke and a serious injury, the 97-year-old needs a wheelchair to get around. But that has not stopped him from living his best life-- especially when it comes to skiing. 

"There are some with more problems than I have. So I'm happy all the time, no need to be unhappy about it," Ted said.

You see, Ted loves to ski and with help from Keelan Cuyler, the rehab director at the veteran's home, they've been able to work with the Wasatch Adaptive program to get Ted on the slopes.

Ted said, "It's really quite an experience, something I never... my children learned to ski. I didn't but it was quite something to experience."

This ski season happens to be Ted's first and for him, being able to get out into the fresh air at the Snowbird Resort and feeling the wind on his face is invigorating.

The sit-ski he uses gives him the freedom he needs to maximize his fun. 

When asked if it scares him, Ted said, "Well it doesn't scare me too much, not a damn thing I can do about it."

He clearly focuses on the brighter side of life, and that's his advice to older adults everywhere.

"Just be happy. Try to get people to laugh and not be so glum about everything all the time."