Disabled vets take to the ice for exercise and so much more in NJ

OLD BRIDGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A disabled veteran from New Jersey started an exercise program on ice for other disabled vets he feels could have a positive influence on their health and well being. It enables these wounded warriors to do what they never thought they'd be able to do again.

Wednesday morning in Old Bridge Township, veterans gathered at an ice rink to do just that, spearheaded by Michael Ricci, the founder and president of Operation Beach Head.

Ricci welcomed a team of volunteers, veterans, members of the FDNY, and anyone else with a disability to partake in sled hockey for some exercise and camaraderie.

Ricci himself is a disabled vet who received wounds in 23 different spots during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam.

It was upon his return home that he discovered how to recover from his injuries.

"When I came back I couldn't walk, so I swam for my physical therapy for 35 years," Ricci said. "That brought a lot of my nerves back in my legs. Exercise has been a part of my life since I was a child, and it always made me feel good. So I've always recognized the healing properties of exercise."

All are welcome to participate in Ricci's program -- active duty or disabled members of service, along with children and adults with disabilities.

Veterans hospitals from the Bronx and East Orange were just a few of the participants who took part in Wednesday's event.

Operation Beach Head also holds events in the summer including sand and surf, as well as dances for the disabled in wheelchairs.

You can learn more about Operation Beach Head by visiting their website, or Facebook page for more information.

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