FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Retired Army Golden Knight, Double Amputee Dana Bowman Returns to Angel Fire
Skydives into Military Winterfest February 11
ANGEL FIRE, N.M. (January 3, 2017) – “Breathtaking,” “inspirational” and “goose bumpy” are words spectators used to describe how Dana Bowman jumped, quite literally into the hearts of Angel Fire’s residents and visitors during its Military Appreciation Weekend last February. But jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft and parachuting over thousands of spectators is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for Bowman, a former member of the Army’s elite parachute team, the Golden Knights and double amputee.
Bowman returns to Angel Fire for the 3rd Annual Military Winterfest to dazzle audiences with his signature American Flag Fly In Saturday, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. Parachuting onto the base of Angel Fire Resort’s ski mountain with his two special prosthetic limbs, he will “land on a dime”—again. Bowman, who performs this feat more than 100 times each year, is determined to continue proving his long-held motto – “It’s not the disability; it’s the ability™.”
Bowman lost both legs in a parachuting accident in 1994 when he and his partner traveling at a combined speed of 300 mph collided in midair. Bowman’s legs were severed instantly. The impact killed his best friend and skydiving partner, Sgt. Jose Aguillon. “My life changed in one split second,” Bowman said. “But I’m here to say you can still make a difference. Our society today needs positive role models. I challenge all of you to learn and give back something.”
Brandishing a 2,000 sq. ft. American flag, Bowman said he was proud to be the first to jump onto Angel Fire’s slopes last year and in 2015. “It’s cold, breezy and the altitude makes it challenging,” he said. “But it was nothing compared to the sacrifice that our veterans do for us each and every day.”
The retired Golden Knight has been the subject of hundreds of national and international news stories, including: Sports Illustrated, People Magazine, Discovery Channel, History Channel and Dateline NBC. Bowman retired from the Army after 20 years of service, performing his final jump as a Golden Knight into the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. His many awards and honors include a bronze star for valor in 1989 during the conflict in Panama as well as Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year in 1995. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in commercial aviation at the University of North Dakota in 2000 and resolved to spend the rest of his life serving his fellow disabled veterans – on the ground and in the air.
“I don’t have any legs, but I can fly multi-million dollar helicopters,” said Bowman, who remains the only double amputee instructor pilot in the world. “I can do anything I want to do, and I want to encourage veterans, kids and anybody to imagine what they can do.”
Through his motivational speeches, inspirational jumps and spirit of giving back, Bowman shows that even in the face of adversity, people with disabilities are anything but useless. “There are a lot of veterans who have overcome tragedies whether in the line of duty or not, whether they’re blind, quadriplegic, paraplegic or have another disability,” he said. Military members and their families participating in Winterfest will have a chance to hear Bowman deliver one of his rousing motivational talks at a dinner later that night.
Bowman says he’s looking forward to coming back to Angel Fire. “I enjoyed the people of Angel Fire, enjoyed the hospitality and friendliness of this unique mountainside village,” he said. “Thank you, Angel Fire for making our dreams come true and giving back to the community of warriors.”
While Bowman is the main attraction at Military Winterfest, held Feb. 9 – 13, the festival features skiing, snowboarding and tubing at deeply discounted rates. As well, snowshoeing, s’mores parties, a KidsFest, an Inter-Service Fun Race, daily Twilight Colors Retirement Parade, a Military Family Expo and more.
Last year, the event welcomed more than 600 active duty, retirees and families from Texas, Colorado and beyond to its winter celebration. This year, organizers anticipate doubling participation.
REACHING OUT TO ALL VETS AND TO THOSE WITH DISABILITIES
“This year we’ve expanded our unique ‘Vet2Vet’ program that offers ski and snowboard lessons for vets, by vets,” said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Rick Sprott, Military Winterfest 2017 chair and board member, National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center Angel Fire. “As well, we’ve bolstered our Adaptive Programs for vets with disabilities.”
REGISTER TO GO!
Exclusive military discounts and access to all Winterfest activities are offered to all registered participants. Registration includes: VIP access to all outdoor and indoor events; a Gift Bag; a collectable Military Challenge Coin, half-price lift tickets, equipment rentals and lessons. Additionally, many Angel Fire restaurants and shops are also giving military discounts to Winterfest attendees.
Advanced Online Registration: $25 individuals; $35 families (up to 5 dependents, including spouse); and free for 100% Disabled Veterans. Register at https://mwf2017.eventbrite.com
Onsite Registration during the festival in the Angel Fire Resort hotel lobby or Online Registration after Winterfest starts: $35 individuals; $50 families – families (up to 5 dependents, including spouse); and 100% Disabled Veterans free.
Saturday’s Dinner may be added on with Advanced Online purchase: $5/adult; and free for 100% Disabled Veterans and kids under 12. After January 28 Online or Onsite: $10/adult; $5/kids under 12; and 100% Disabled Veterans still free.
To book lodging, lessons and equipment call 855-318-1081 & ask for “VETS.” You may also reserve lift tickets, lessons, equipment AND lodging with this number.
To book a Vet2Vet lesson or schedule a Veteran Adaptive session call 575-377-4320. (Veteran Adaptive sessions are by prior arrangement only. The Angel Fire Ski & Snowboard School requires at least 2 weeks to secure appropriate adaptive sports equipment & certified instructors.)
Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve, veterans, retirees, dependent families and Gold Star families are eligible to participate but must have a valid identification card or other proof of service.
Winterfest helps raise funds and awareness for the *National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center of Angel Fire. The Center is nationally known for using creative therapies in its weeklong Retreat Programs to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress.
Military Winterfest 2017 partner: Angel Fire Resort, a 5-Star corporate sponsor and NEVER SUMMER INDUSTRIES, Official Snowboard Sponsor.
The registration fees paid when attending Military Winterfest 2017 are tax-deductible and directly support the National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center. The Center provides treatment for military individuals and families that suffer with Post Traumatic Stress. Its creative therapies have been nationally recognized for their effectiveness in treating the “Invisible Wounds of War.” The natural setting of Angel Fire in the Sangre de Cristo mountains is the perfect location to bring couples to a place where healing in nature is optimal. The Veteran couples experience Native American hand washing ceremony and storytelling of the warrior culture and many more therapeutic techniques. These retreats are only possible with the help from donors & grant funding. For more, see National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center Angel Fire.