Firsthand Report: Liberty Wounded Warrior Weekend
Author thumbnail By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist

Liberty Mountain Resort does a wonderful job for our nation’s wounded warriors and their families. This latest Wounded Warrior Weekend, held March 5-6, 2011, was another exciting event for those who have fought for our country. Some have lost limbs or have other impairments. But they make it to the mountain where dedicated instructors and volunteers help them enjoy the snow-filled slopes with the rest of us. Some of the veterans have engaged in recuperative therapy for several years, and have made remarkable progress, with their sport and their lives. One of our favorite examples is Manny Pina. He lost a leg, but skis and teaches skiing with one leg. He puts on his prosthetic leg for walking around, but is better able to ski and balance with one leg. Try doing it sometime - it is very difficult!

From left: Hector Campos, Manny Pina, Tanya Moore, Antonio Bailey. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

This time there were eight wounded warriors at Liberty with family members or friends. About 25 people came up for the event, in addition to the volunteers. BRASS, or the Blue Ridge Adaptive Snow Sports, is responsible for organizing the event, along with the staff of Liberty. Many businesses and groups in nearby Gettysburg donate food, lodging, or services. We attended the home-cooked dinner Saturday night at The American Legion Hall in Gettysburg.

There is something especially poignant and meaningful about holding a warrior event in Gettysburg. It is a constant reminder that the horrors of war never seem to end. But, maybe the souls of all those Civil War soldiers can somehow give comfort to the modern warriors who fought the latest battles.

There are unfortunately so many warriors, that other wounded warrior events also took place over the same weekend. One was in Snowshoe, West Virginia. Virginia’s Wintergreen Resort held their zany Mardi Gras Weekend, which raises funds for their adaptive and warrior programs. I am certain there are many more Wounded Warrior events across the nation. Some of the participants remarked that they are thankful the programs are expanding, and they are grateful so many more service personnel survive their wounds. Although we wish there were no injuries, these occasions give us an opportunity to express our thanks. They are all proud of their service to their country and are remarkably positive about their futures.

Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

As for the skiing itself, all the trails were in good shape Saturday. Somehow the snowmakers put down almost a foot overnight, and the conditions were much better than we expected. All the trails were open and we had wonderful runs. Eastwind had abundant bumps - we watched them from the chairlift! I enjoyed taking some runs with my instructor friend, Trippi Penland. She gave me some good tips about the need for smoother turns, but I can’t seem to break the habit of lifting a ski and hopping a bit. I must have kangaroo blood in me!

Sunday the rains came, and I don’t know what the week will bring. Most of the resorts in our region plan spring flings, fun events, and pond skimming. I hope they come off. But, whatever happens, COO Eric Flynn tells us it has been a great season. More improvements are planned for the next one, and the work goes on over the summer. The golf course next to the slopes should be busy. The cycle goes on!

[Editor’s Note: Liberty Mountain Resort plans to end its season on March 13, 2011. The season will close out with Springfest on March 12 and 13.]

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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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