Soldiers turn sailor with Warrior Sailing Program

Veteran soldiers set sail

Sailing on the water helps clear the mind.

"It's very relaxing and therapeutic," said Sammy Lugo. His sailing partner is Scott Ford, and together the two have been sailing for more than three years.

"He and I have become really good friends,” Ford said.

Not just any sailing duo, the similar circumstances between these two sea dogs runs even deeper than the waters they sail.

“[I] Pretty much lost the leg below the knee. Fractured my femur, tibia,” Lugo said. He lost his leg serving in the US Army in Iraq when a road-side bomb exploded near him. Fellow sailor Scott Ford is also a wounded vet.

“Depending on lighting conditions I have very little vision,” he said. It’s believed that Ford lost his vision by receiving a bad vaccine when he served during the Gulf War.

These circumstances charted a course for these two wounded vets straight to the Lowcountry.

“We’re practicing for Charleston race week,” Lugo said. They’re part of the Warrior Sailing Program.

“[It's] Definitely something that’s helped me enjoy some more of life,” Lugo said.

Even with one leg and limited sight, there’s no hint of a handicap here.

“For sailing it makes it easy because I’m constantly sitting and standing,” Lugo said

”One of most awesome things about a sail boat is they’re all set up the same way,” Ford said. “I can climb up on a boat and look like I have a clue what’s going on.”

If one brother falls behind, the other simply picks up and, of course, reels in the slack.”

“We can help one another achieve a goal that neither one of us can achieve alone,” Ford said. “I can’t see myself not doing this.”

After all, leaving no man behind is the mark of a true soldier.

“My comrades in arms,” Lugo said of his fellow sailors.

These two comrades prove it’s also the mark of a true sailor.

“My friends, those I’ve considered to be pretty close…that alone is therapeutic enough,” Lugo added.

Sperry Charleston Race Week sets sail April 20 and runs through to April 23.

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