The #4th Gathering of Mountain Eagles, 1-4 Feb 2010
The fourth Gathering of Mountain Eagles was conducted from 1-4 February 2010.
Thirteen soldiers and cadre members from the Warrior Transition Units at Fort Eustis, VA and Fort Belvoir, VA participated in the challenging activities.
We started with two days of skiing and snowboarding at the beautiful Canaan Valley Resort north of Elkins, WV. On the first night we were also treated to a mix of bluegrass and other country music by the Jumpin’ Tyme Band. Band members Wayne & Diane Cash, Danny Reed and Randy Tucker played their hearts out for over an hour. We awarded them the GME Coin for their support.
Soldiers found the winter sports challenging, but exhilarating and were tired after exercising muscles not used on a daily basis. Several soldiers, some of whom had never been skiing before, met our challenge of skiing down from the very top of the highest mountain. We had great skiing/snowboarding instruction from the Challenged Athletes of West Virginia. Led by Dave Begg, they provided superb support. Other instructors included Jeff Coston, Mark Tracy, Warren Wix, and Chris Ugavi. Also, a special thanks goes to the staff of Canaan Valley Resort, particularly the event coordinators, Alicia Lewis and Cindy Martin.
On Wednesday, February 3rd, we moved to Morgantown, WV where we were met West Virginia University basketball player Joe Mazzulla who is also recovering from some nearly career ending injuries in 2008. His recovery and return to basketball, as well as graduating in 3 ½ years served as an inspiration to all those who know his story. We also awarded him a GME Coin.
Afterward we went to VFW Post 548 in Morgantown for dinner with other veterans and corporate leaders. Another special thanks goes to Gary Burch (our Northern WV Area Coordinator) for arranging the dinner and media coverage. We had local newspaper and two TV stations to cover the events.
We then attended the West Virginia University vs. University of Pittsburg basketball game where the “Mountaineers” soundly defeated the “Panthers.” Known as the “Backyard Brawl” it proved to be a very spirited and wild game – to say the least.
Afterwards, we went to Camp Dawson, WV for the evening and our closing activities on Thursday. The soldiers then departed for home with the best wishes of the staff of the Gathering of Mountain Eagles.
Finally, we thank the soldiers and leadership of Fort Belvoir and Fort Eustis Warrior Transition Units. It was a pleasure to have them attend the fourth “Gathering of Mountain Eagles.” We challenged them and they met the challenge. We thanked them for their service and they understand that Americans care about them and their sacrifices.