Mines, nonprofit QL+ join forces to help injured veterans

The non-profit organization Quality of Life Plus (QL+) donated $50,000 to enhance a lab at Colorado School of Mines where students work exclusively to develop adaptive equipment to solve mobility challenges posed by veterans and first responders who have disabilities. The funds will be used to purchase equipment for measurement, prototyping and fabrication of innovative, custom devices to elevate the quality of life and independence of injured veterans and first responders.

On January 9 at 11:30 a.m., Mines will dedicate the lab and host an open house to showcase the work of Mines students for QL+ participants, known as challengers. The lab is located in Brown Hall, 1610 Illinois St., Golden.

“These are projects that can make a huge improvement in the lives of people who have sacrificed so much for our nation. The generous support from Quality of Life Plus will greatly enhance the efforts of Mines students on behalf of disabled veterans and first responders,” said Joel Bach, director of Mines’ Human Centered Design Studio.

Mines students are working with five QL+ challengers from around the country to engineer solutions for specific mobility problems through creativity, technology and empathy. One challenger is Velette Britt, an Air Force veteran from Colorado Springs who is paralyzed from the waist down. Velette is a competitive hand cyclist and avid skier whose goal is to compete in the Warrior Games and the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. This fall, Mines students designed a manual wheelchair that allows her to traverse curbs and bumps without having to do a “wheelie.” For a spring project, Velette has challenged the team to design comfortable cranks for her hand cycle and attachments to allow her to ride in inclement weather.

“We selected Colorado School of Mines as a partner university because it is well known for its terrific engineering program and outstanding students,” said Quality of Life Plus Founder and retired CIA Senior Executive Jon Monett. “There is no place better for us in this region than Mines, with its committed faculty and passionate students.”
Mines is one of seven QL+ partner universities connecting students with veterans through a customized, hands-on learning opportunity to produce assistive devices to improve their quality of life.  

At the open house on January 9, student researchers will discuss their projects while touring the lab and demonstrating the technologies used to develop adaptive devices. Mines President Paul C. Johnson will speak.

Rachelle Trujillo, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing, Colorado School of Mines Foundation | 303-273-3526 | rtrujillo@mines.edu

Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3361 | erusch@mines.edu

Amber Humphrey, Social Media Director and Midwest Program Manager, Quality of Life Plus | 270-348-0103 | amber.humphrey@qlplus.org