Project Description

The #2nd Gathering of Mountain Eagles, 5-8 Feb 2009


The second Gathering of Mountain Eagles was conducted from 5-8 February 2009. Seventeen soldiers and cadre members from Alpha Company, Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Eustis, VA participated in the challenging activities.

Mr. Clifton Gaines of Alpha Company was the master coordinator who organized the soldiers at Fort Eustis, and we thank him for his great support.

We started with two days of skiing and snowboarding at the beautiful Canaan Valley Resort north of Elkins, WV. 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. Our Dave Soczka (USA, Ret.), Dave Cochran (USAF, Ret.), Gerry Cummins (USA, Ret.) and Dave Begg (Challenged Athletes of West Virginia) made the skiing event go smoothly with their ski instructions. Also, a special thanks goes to the staff of Canaan Valley Resort, particularly the event coordinator, Alicia Lewis.

On Saturday, February 7th, we moved to Morgantown, WV where we were met by a large contingent of veterans, various civic groups and the city mayor for lunch (see TV and newspaper stories). This was a great surprise to the soldiers and they appreciated it very much. Another special thanks goes to Gary Burch (our Northern WV Area Coordinator) for arranging the lunch and media coverage.

We then attended the West Virginia University vs. Providence University basketball game where the “Mountaineers” soundly defeated the “Friers.” Afterwards, we went to Camp Dawson, WV for a pizza party and our closing activities on Sunday. At those closing activities, Colonel Timothy Hill (Camp Dawson’s Commander), Command Sergeant Major Lawrence Pnakovich, and about twenty other WV National Guard soldiers warmly greeted the Mountain Eagles.

Finally, we thank the soldiers and leadership of Alpha Company (“No Slack”), Warrior Transition Unit. It was a pleasure to have them attend the second “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.