Preview of the Wounded Warrior Weekend at Wintergreen
Author thumbnail By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist

Wintergreen has one of the most ambitious and best developed Wounded Warrior and adaptive sports programs in the Mid Atlantic region. They continue to improve - thanks to the dedication of leaders Michael Zuckerman, Tom Brown, their dozens of instructors and volunteers, and the expert assistance of Disabled Sports USA, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.

These events are meaningful and well organized. They provide terrific instruction, friendship, and a lot of fun. My husband Charles and I have had the good fortune of attending two of the events at Wintergreen. We also joined 15 of their group, as they worked, taught, and skied hard in Breckenridge, Colorado, during the DSUSA Hartford Ski Spectacular. Michael Zuckerman worked intensely teaching the participants, as he always does. He has been teaching adaptive skiers since 1982. Much of the new techniques and equipment studied will be put to use during the upcoming Wounded Warriors Weekend (WWW), to be held at Wintergreen January 25-27, 2008, and in all the ski events for adaptive skiers. As Michael often points out, the need for adaptive programs has existed for a long time, and will continue to in the future. These programs benefit a variety of summer and winter athletes who may suffer from birth defects and accidents. The Wounded Warriors have increased in number now, because of war injuries. It is hoped that number will be able to decrease in the future, if the war situation winds down.

Director Tom Brown says the 4th WWW can host “as many as 25 soldiers, Marines, and airmen who were terribly wounded on battlefields around the world.” Their spouses, children, good friends, or caregivers are also invited. The servicemen or women come from four rehabilitative facilities, including Walter Reed. Tom Brown says “the event is free to wounded warriors… all activities are provided at no charge.” Those interested in applying should contact Tom Brown as soon as possible at development_director_was@yahoo.com. He can also be reached on 434-851-9890. Most, if not all of the funds come from private and individual donations and grants. Wintergreen Adaptive Skiing also holds a Mardi Gras fundraising weekend each year.

The event in Breckenridge was partially funded with an important grant from the Virginia Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative for Spinal Cord Injured. Michael Zuckerman calls this a very major grant, which does much to advance the cause of those inflicted with spinal cord injuries. It is administered by Virginia Rehabilitative Services.

The Wintergreen Adaptive Sports group at Breckenridge, Colorado. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

Those who went to Breckenridge from Wintergreen included Larry Whitaker, Kristin Beale, Molly Brown, Shayna Heeter, Jason Coleman, Rhonda Beale, Terri Bsullak, Anne Holliday, Michael Zuckerman, Kristy Hart, Cendy Heeter, Chris Beale, Massey Teel, Sam Shaver, Bob Damon, and Dan McIntire. Not all are in the photo - some were still out in the heavy snow on the slopes during their group meeting. But, most will be there for the Wounded Warrior Weekend, and the other important adaptive events sponsored by Wintergreen. We hope to see you too, for these or other terrific events in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountain resort. Don’t forget to savor their incomparable sunrises and sunsets!

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About Connie Lawn

When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.

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