|Tuesday 20, Nov 2012|
|Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation Honored with the Prestigious 2012 Spirit of Hope Award! |
DH WEB's, David Henneberger, attended an award ceremony at the Pentagon on November 15, 2012 where the Prestigious 2012 Spirit of Hope Award was given to Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation.
DH WEB's, David Henneberger, (pictured 4th from the right) is a Two Top volunteer adaptive ski school instructor as well as a board member of the foundation.
DH WEB donates all of Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation's online web services.
Originally commissioned by the USO, The Spirit of Hope Award was inspired by Bob Hope's dedication to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Since 1997, this award has been presented by the Wiegand Foundation, Inc. to distinguished Americans and organizations whose patriotism and service to the troops reflects that of the late Bob Hope.
HITTING THE SLOPES
Bill Dietrich was the Army's nominee for the 2012 Spirit of Hope Award, for his efforts in creating the Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation, which helps both injured service members and injured civilians learn to ski.
Dietrich has been a ski instructor for 23 years now at the White Tail Ski Resort. And while there have been adaptive ski lessons taught at the resort since 1991, when it opened, it wasn't until 2007 when Dietrich was asked to become the director of the Adaptive Program that he decided a non-profit organization was needed to better fund the program. It was then, in the summer of 2007, that he founded the Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation.
"My ski school director kind of challenged me to kind of build the program at Whitetail," Dietrich said. "We really didn't have any kind of organized adaptive program. So I took the challenge, had people tell me it couldn't be done -- and I love to hear that -- and made it happen."
The adaptive ski program works with anybody with any kind of disability, he said.
"We primarily work a lot with children with learning disabilities, and autism," he said. "And we have a double-amputee, a young man we are working with, that started skiing with us last year."
INVITING WOUNDED WARRIORS
The resort is just a short distance from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., he said, and that makes it easy for wounded Soldiers at places like Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to take part in the program.
Being a chapter of Disabled Sports USA has also given inroads to places like Walter Reed. The Two Top program has had booths at the hospital in both the spring and fall to let Soldiers there know about the opportunities at Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation. And wounded service members have flocked to the resort to pick up the sport.
During the first year, Dietrich said, it was just one wounded warrior and his wife who skied together for just one day. The next year, that number grew to 25 wounded warriors who participated. The following winter, it was 75 wounded warriors. And while last year that number dropped to 60, Dietrich said he knows the program is successful.
"We're one of the closest adaptive sports programs that offer skiing and snowboarding for our wounded guys out of Walter Reed and Bethesda," said Dietrich. "The fact that guys are coming back and becoming better shows the program is working."
Dietrich has been an avid skier since childhood. He said he wants, through his program, to pass his love of the sport on to wounded service members.
"I love the sport, and teaching anybody to ski is rewarding," he said. "Taking somebody out of a wheel chair and changing their life is incredible. You can't hide an honest smile. And I know I've done a good job when that service member is sitting there with a big grin on their face wanting to know when they can come back again