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Jaffrey

Adaptive shooting program ‘empowering’

  • Collin LaFlamme, founder of Access Outdoors New England, assists Laura Clark of Antrim, with her adaptive shooting equipment at the third shooting clinic, a new program through the Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program at Crotched Mountain's Rehabilitation Center.

    Collin LaFlamme, founder of Access Outdoors New England, assists Laura Clark of Antrim, with her adaptive shooting equipment at the third shooting clinic, a new program through the Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program at Crotched Mountain's Rehabilitation Center. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jenny Crowell of Antrim, lines up her shot with the help of Sturm, Ruger gun engineer, Randy Wheeler. With just one quick puff of air, Crowell's breath fires the handgun attached to her adaptive shooting equipment.

    Jenny Crowell of Antrim, lines up her shot with the help of Sturm, Ruger gun engineer, Randy Wheeler. With just one quick puff of air, Crowell's breath fires the handgun attached to her adaptive shooting equipment. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • All the firearms and guns used at the shooting clinic were provided by Sturm, Ruger and Co. Those with more finger mobility were able to use the larger firearms without the adaptive equipment, and others with limited hand mobility had an array of handguns that they could use with the equipment to practice shooting.

    All the firearms and guns used at the shooting clinic were provided by Sturm, Ruger and Co. Those with more finger mobility were able to use the larger firearms without the adaptive equipment, and others with limited hand mobility had an array of handguns that they could use with the equipment to practice shooting. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey.

    The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Shooting clinic participant Corey Kotz of Milford, takes aim while President of the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club, Mark Carbone of Jaffrey, assists the target practice.

    Shooting clinic participant Corey Kotz of Milford, takes aim while President of the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club, Mark Carbone of Jaffrey, assists the target practice. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jenny Crowell of Antrim, is about to take a shot at a target by sending a breath of air into the straw attached to the adaptive shooting equipment. Her breath will fire a shot that she lined up herself using a hand toggle.

    Jenny Crowell of Antrim, is about to take a shot at a target by sending a breath of air into the straw attached to the adaptive shooting equipment. Her breath will fire a shot that she lined up herself using a hand toggle. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey.

    The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey.

    The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey.

    The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Collin LaFlamme, founder of Access Outdoors New England, assists Laura Clark of Antrim, with her adaptive shooting equipment at the third shooting clinic, a new program through the Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program at Crotched Mountain's Rehabilitation Center.
  • Jenny Crowell of Antrim, lines up her shot with the help of Sturm, Ruger gun engineer, Randy Wheeler. With just one quick puff of air, Crowell's breath fires the handgun attached to her adaptive shooting equipment.
  • All the firearms and guns used at the shooting clinic were provided by Sturm, Ruger and Co. Those with more finger mobility were able to use the larger firearms without the adaptive equipment, and others with limited hand mobility had an array of handguns that they could use with the equipment to practice shooting.
  • The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey.
  • Shooting clinic participant Corey Kotz of Milford, takes aim while President of the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club, Mark Carbone of Jaffrey, assists the target practice.
  • Jenny Crowell of Antrim, is about to take a shot at a target by sending a breath of air into the straw attached to the adaptive shooting equipment. Her breath will fire a shot that she lined up herself using a hand toggle.
  • The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey.
  • The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey.
  • The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program had five participants do adaptive shooting Wednesday at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Jaffrey.

Laura Clark of Antrim lined up her shot, took a deep breath and unleashed a powerful flurry from the barrel of a Sturm, Ruger handgun.

For Clark, it was an empowering moment, and it spoke to how far she’s come since a 2004 car crash with a moose left her with a spinal cord injury and limited use of her hands.

“I couldn’t stop smiling,” Clark said last Wednesday about an earlier adaptive shooting outing at the Monadnock Rod and Gun Club in Peterborough. “It was very different having so much power.”

Clark was one of five participants who went to the shooting range as part of The Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports program. The outdoor adventure series that’s part of Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield has built its reputation on taking participants hiking, skiing and kayaking. But on this Wednesday afternoon, the program turned up the volume.

The five participants each got to get a taste of target shooting with a firearm of their choice. With a slight adjustment using a hand toggle, and a simple breath of air into a straw, the five participants were able to fire at targets without limitations.

“I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know what you would have to go through, but they just slide a metal plate underneath you and the rest was easy,” said Clark.

Geoff Garfinkle, director of Accessible Recreation for Crotched Mountain, said the participants have a metal plate that they sit on that has an attachment near the shooter’s legs that can hold a handgun, pistol or a rifle.

Another participant, Jenny Crowell, also of Antrim, was ecstatic when she made her first shot Wednesday.

“I made it! So can I just keep it there and keep shooting?” Crowell asked her shooting assistant, Randy Wheeler, the business unit director of the Pine Tree Casting Division for Sturm, Ruger and Co.

“Well the shot itself probably moved the gun so you got to adjust it a little bit before you keep going,” Wheeler replied. Crowell sighed and laughed, and began adjusting the gun’s aim for her next shot.

In an interview Wednesday, Crowell said she had never experienced a gun until she tried target shooting. After her experience at the shooting clinic she said she enjoys the loudness and power of the gun.

“I needed to have something intense in my possession,” Crowell said. “I can’t feel my feet, but let me tell you I feel it in my feet when I shoot. I feel it in my whole body.”

Crowell was diagnosed with quadriplegia in 2008 when she was living in Michigan and drove into a lake that was shallow. She said she doesn’t have an interest in hunting but wants to continue target shooting and show other individuals in wheelchairs that they can do it, too.

It was the third clinic held at the gun club, and it all been part of a larger effort. According to the Therapeutic Director for Crotched Mountain, Geoff Garfinkle, when Crotched Mountain received a conservation easement to put their 1,200 acres of land under protection by the federal and state government, it got them thinking about what they could do with the land someday.

Garfinkle said the goal of these shooting clinics is to provide more sports and recreation options for interested people and to prepare the participants for a deer hunt on the 1,200 acres of land once rifle season opens in November. “We still need to make the land accessible for hunting,” Garfinkle said at the shooting clinic Wednesday. “There will be limited hunting in the woods for the participants, who will have guides.”

Crotched Mountain teamed up with Collin LaFlamme of Access Outdoors New England and manufacturing engineer Mike Silvester and Wheeler from Sturm, Ruger and Co., who provided the firearms and donated the ammunition. Garfinkle said Sturm, Ruger has already donated two adaptive devices to Crotched Mountain’s accessible shooting program. Garfinkle said they hope to raise enough money in the future to buy more devices for the program.

For this first season of shooting clinics, Garfinkle explained that Crotched Mountain wanted to first work with individuals who are already involved in other accessible sports and recreation programs. “We knew these participants from our hiking program and we knew their skills,” Garfinkle explained. “The other participants all had prior shooting experience but Laura and Jenny didn’t have any experience but became interested and wanted to learn.”

According to Program Coordinator for Crotched Mountain, Kristin Harris, it’s been nice to have the expertise of individuals from Sturm, Ruger & Co. and LaFlamme to help with this neat program.

“It seemed empowering to them,” Harris said at the shooting clinic. “It’s excellent to keep expanding this program.”

Garfinkle said that by next summer they want to offer this program to others in the public who may not have experienced a program at Crotched Mountain. Safety and health evaluation are involved with ensuring an individual is able to participate, but after three successful shooting clinics, Garfinkle said Crotched Mountain is excited to open the program up to the public in the future.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

Awesome ladies! You gals rock! Someone might want to read over the article again for some typos, Jenny Crowell did not drove into a lake she dove into a lake. :)

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