FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Retired Army Golden Knight, Double Amputee Dana Bowman Returns to Angel Fire
Skydives into Military Winterfest February 20
ANGEL FIRE, N.M. (Jan. 14, 2016) – “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 January. 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 2nd Annual Military Winterfest to dazzle audiences with his signature American Flag Fly In Saturday, Feb. 20 at 10:15 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. “It was cold, breezy and the altitude made 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 more than 250 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,” Bowman said. “I’m just part of the team.”
Bowman said, he’s looking forward to coming back to Angel Fire and is happy to see Military Winterfest as an annual event. “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. 18 – 22, there will outdoor activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, sleigh rides, tubing, snowshoeing and s’mores parties.
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 2016 chair and board member, National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center Angel Fire. “As well, we’ve bolstered our Adaptive programs for vets with disabilities.”
In addition, organizers have planned a Twilight Colors Retirement Parade down the mountain, inter-service ski and snowboard races, and a dinner featuring live music for the first 230 people registered.
REGISTER TO GO
To take advantage of the exclusive Military discounts and all Winterfest activities participants must register: advanced online registration is $20 individuals, $30 families; onsite registration is $35 individuals, $45 families. Registration includes all activities all week long, including: the Saturday night dinner with live musical entertainment (seating limited); VIP access to all outdoor and indoor events; a VIP Gift bag; a collectable Military Challenge Coin, discounted lift tickets; half-priced equipment rentals and lessons, said Sprott. Many Angel Fire restaurants and businesses are also giving military discounts to Winterfest attendees. Advanced online registration is available at bit.ly/Military_Winterfest.
Angel Fire Resort is offering lodging specials. To book lodging, lessons and equipment go to angelfireresort.com or call (888) 371-7344. Use Promo Code: VETS. Additional Village accommodations listings and the schedule of events is at veteranswellnessandhealing.org.
For updates see Facebook.com/MilitaryWinterfest.
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. Veterans who are 100% disabled get in for free.
The registration fees paid when attending Military Winterfest 2016 are tax-deductible and directly supports the National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center which provides treatment for military individuals and families that suffer with Post Traumatic Stress — the “Invisible Wounds of War.”
Key partners in Military Winterfest 2016: National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center of Angel Fire, event host and organizer; the Angel Fire Resort, 5-star corporate sponsor; and funded in part by the Village of Angel Fire Lodgers Tax.