By Paul T. Choate
March 11, 2013. On Saturday, March 9, the Appalachian Ski Patrol at Appalachian Ski Mountain hosted a skiing and snowboarding event for members of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). This was the first time any of the three ski resorts in the High Country have hosted a WWP and the App Ski Patrol is hoping to make this an annual event.
“The event went very well. We had a gret turnout on the warriors part and on the patrol’s part. I think almost half our membership was here on Saturday,” said Joe Donadio, ski patrol director. “We’ve already discussed plans with [ASM’s] owner on maybe doing it again next year and trying to make this an annual event for the WWP.”
Donadio decided to organize the event upon hearing the WWP come up often in discussion among the ski patrol. The ski patrol has several members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and currently on military leave. Throughout the Southern Division and the National Ski Patrol, area patrols have shown support of the WWP by hosting similar events.
“I keep seeing WWP come up here and there but I haven’t seen anything to support them locally and I just wanted to try and do something like these other resorts have done at larger areas,” Donadio said.
The WWP put Donadio in touch with Chris Uggiano, regional coordinator for physical health and wellness from the WWP based out of Fayetteville, and the two set up a date and time to bring the wounded warriors to ASM for this special event.
The day kicked off with a flag presentation by the Appalachian State ROTC Mountaineer Battalion Cadets. A member of the App Ski Patrol, Emily Hinshaw, along with Grace Fuller, presented the national anthem.
Along with assistance and support from local and regional EMS, fire/rescue, law enforcement officers and area restaurants, the event saw a full day of fun and food to say thank you to wounded warriors.
Donadio said going forward, App Ski Patrol hopes to set up a fund specifically to hold this event annually. He said this year they were able to cover most of the expenses other than the wounded warriors’ hotel costs and said he hopes to be able to cover those too next year. He also added that this year most of the wounded warriors were from the Fayetteville area and that he would like to expand the event to draw more wounded warriors statewide.
The patrol would like to thank those individuals and local area organizations and businesses who have shown support to this event: Appalachian Ski Mtn., French Swiss Ski College, ASU Student Vets, ASU ROTC Mountaineer Battalion Cadets, High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Assoc., Boone American Legion, Blue Horse Promotions,Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue B.C. Bar-B-Que, Chick Filet, Creative Printing, Cracker Barrel, Gamewell Fire Department of Lenoir, District 3 of the State Employees Assoc., Wendy’s and the many individuals who have shown their support and volunteered their time for such a worthy cause.
About Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
Photos by Ken Ketchie