Soldiers hit the slopes at Whiteface

WILMINGTON Its a big change from Iraq, but soldiers recently returned to the States were eager to hit the mountain at Whiteface. On Jan. 10, the Olympic Mountain played host to about 60 soldiers from Fort Drum. The soldiers were visiting the region for a three-day reintegration course at the Northwoods Inn in Lake Placid. ORDA provided rentals and lift tickets to the Iraq War veterans, offering a chance to downhill ski or snowboard for free. ORDA Spokesman Sandy Caligiore said the organization had a close relationship with Fort Drum, holding a re-dedication of Whiteface to the 10th Mountain Division every summer. Given what they do four our country, and their proximity to us, its only natural that we extend opportunities to ski at and ride the bobsleds at ORDA venues. We hope theyll leave with lasting impressions and a desire to return, said Caligiore. Soldiers also had the chance to try the bobsled run on Jan. 11. The troops rode the bobsleds with ORDA drivers and brakemen. Chaplains Steve Bryant and Scott Kennis coordinated the afternoon activities. Kennis explained the reintegration program was primarily about financial counseling and other issues soldiers would encounter after 15 months in Iraq.

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