NEWPORT, R.I. (May 11, 2015) – MetLife, a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefits programs, will sponsor the MetLife Combat Wounded & Injured Veterans Regatta in partnership with Sail Newport. The regatta is scheduled May 12-13 during the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover in Newport, R.I.
Fourteen veterans from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines will crew for the skippers of the Volvo Ocean Race aboard J/22 sloops. The regatta is part of the Wounded Veterans Retreat Program organized by Army Special Forces Sergeant/Major (Ret.) Nelson Corbin, a veteran of seven years in combat zones.
The veterans all suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Some are amputees and some are wheelchair-bound with a traumatic spinal cord injury, but they all find a sense of purpose in the event-based therapy programs that Corbin organizes.
“My biggest concern is that 22 veterans per day commit suicide throughout the U.S., and I want to affect that number,” said Corbin. “Sailing is the most popular program we run, but also scuba diving, horseback riding or hiking. We get the veterans out and doing things. They get to learn new things, new hobbies, and potentially new careers. If we can continue to get the veterans out and interacting with other veterans and learning new things, that’s when they start to feel worthy again.”
Last fall five of the veterans coming to Newport were in crews that participated in US Sailing’s Disabled National Championship and placed first and second overall in the Sonar B Division after two weeks of training.
“We are proud to sponsor this fun and challenging event focused on improving the lives of wounded veterans,” said John Hele, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “MetLife and MetLife Foundation have a long-standing commitment to support programs and projects that help veterans and their families who sacrifice so much to preserve our freedom. We hope others will also help or donate to support this great cause.”
The regatta is supported by Wounded Veterans Retreat Program and US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport of sailing. US Sailing is helping the veterans with travel and accommodation costs to Newport.
“I was astonished at how quickly they learned the sport of sailing,” said Betsy Alison, Paralympic Coach for US Sailing. “We see this regatta as an opportunity to showcase what we’re doing with this pipeline program and what’s being done to expand participation in the sport of sailing.”
Racing will take place on the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, easily viewable from the North Lawn at Fort Adams State Park. A practice session is scheduled 1-4 p.m., Tuesday, May 12, with racing scheduled 2-5 p.m., Wednesday, May 13.
The Volvo Ocean Race Newport stopover, scheduled May 5-17, is the only North American stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race, the nine-month circumnavigation race that began last October and finishes at the end of June and visits 11 ports around the world. A race village and educational zone based around the race are planned at Fort Adams. The full schedule may be viewed online by clicking here
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately 100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.
FOR MORE INFO CONTACT
Kim Cooper, Marketing Director, Sail Newport (stopover) firstname.lastname@example.org
Sean McNeill, Stopover Communications/PR, Sail Newport (stopover) email@example.com
Andrea McHugh, Marketing Director, Discover Newport firstname.lastname@example.org
Joy Fox, Communications Director, RI Governor’s Office email@example.com
John Calagna, Global Communications, MetLife, firstname.lastname@example.org