Submitted by Stan White
Recently the Canaan Valley Ski Patrol hosted the eleventh Edition of the Gathering of Mountain Eagles, a group of wounded warriors and their families. Woody Arentz of Greenville, SC started this group as a tribute to his daughter who was severely injured in a bus accident in 1988. Because his soldiers provided life-saving and moral support to Woody and his young daughter he believed that he should do something to help wounded warriors.
Since 2008 the GME has provided free of charge at least five adventures each year for military men and women and their families who have combat wounds, injuries or serious illness such as cancer and PTSD. The spouses of these warriors are a vital part of this adventure and the recovery process. Their first trip to Canaan Valley Resort was in Feb 2009.
I first met Woody and the GME on the slopes of Canaan Valley Resort in Feb 2010. As a patroller I was checking trails when I noticed a small group of men and women learning to ski and ride. Some of these warriors were in sit skis hosted by the Challenged Athletes of WV. I asked Woody how the ski patrol could help. As a Gold Star Father who lost two sons I too was eager to help. The next year we had about 15 wounded warriors and 5-6 ski patrollers to teach them to ski and ride. Since then the Challenged Athletes of WV, Canaan Valley Ski School, the Canaan Valley Ski Patrol and our families and friends have provided instruction on a 2 to 1 ratio of instructors to warriors. We have had National Ski Patrol Board of Directors, the Eastern Division Director all assist in this worthy cause.
The Gathering of Mountain Eagles is the highlight of our ski season. For more information contact Woody Aurentz and the GME webpage at www.mountaineagles.org or email Woody@gmail.com or the CVSP Patrol Director, Stan White at firstname.lastname@example.org.