Thousands of American veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have returned home blinded, deaf or with missing limbs.
Other injuries, however, are not as noticeable until you take a moment to spend time with the veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder, concussions and head injuries can leave veterans with scars that are not visible, but just as devastating.
Appalachian Ski Mountain, Appalachian Ski Patrol and the Wounded Warrior Project recently teamed up to help heal some veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twenty-nine veterans from North Carolina traveled to Appalachian Ski Mountain March 9 for an afternoon of skiing, snowboarding and camaraderie.
Joe Donadio, executive director of Appalachian Ski Patrol, helped organize the outing.
“Our patrol has several members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and currently are on military leave,” Donadio said. “Throughout the Southern (Ski) Division and National Ski Patrol, area patrols have shown support of the Wounded Warrior Project by hosting similar events. Appalachian Ski Patrol would like to locally support our members and those alumni members of the Wounded Warrior Program.”
According to Donadio, the March 9 event was this first of its kind for any of the High Country ski resorts.
“We would like to make this an annual event,” he said.
According to Donadio, every single member of the Appalachian Ski Patrol came out to make the event a success.
The event started with a tribute the servicemen and servicewomen present, including a flag presentation by the Appalachian State University Mountaineer Battalion Cadets. Appalachian Ski Patrol member Emily Hinshaw and Grace Fuller sang the National Anthem a cappella.
After a hearty breakfast, the veterans picked out their rental equipment and headed out to the slope called Avery’s Appal for quick lessons in snowboarding and skiing techniques.
“Our patrol will provide volunteers to assist each member with a day of skiing or snowboarding, and will provide lunch to those members participating,” Donadio said.
Local and regional EMS, fire and rescue and law enforcement officers assisted with the event.
Other assistance was given by French Swiss Ski College, ASU Student Vets, ASU ROTC Mountaineer Battalion Cadets, the High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association, Boone American Legion, Blue Horse Promotions, B.C. Bar-B-Que, Chick-fil-A, Creative Printing, Cracker Barrel, District 3 of the State Employee’s Association and Wendy’s.