DOINews: BLM-Alaska: Wounded Warriors Enjoy Alaska Snow Race

Last edited 09/05/2019

There are many ways to support our troops, but perhaps one of the coolest is with snow machines and playing cards. BLM-Alaska Branch of Pipeline Monitoring employees Steve Weeks and Rhonda Williams assisted the Valdez Snowmachine Club during its second annual Wounded Warrior Poker Run on March 28. This event is open to the public and its focus is to host Wounded Warriors from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson for a day of fun on snow machines.

Snow machines lined up for a day of fun in the snow and sun.

Snow machines line up for a day of fun in the snow and sun.

Weeks and Williams serve as president and secretary of the Valdez Snowmachine Club. They were instrumental in starting this event in 2014 with the help of other club members. "I spent a combination of 23 years serving in the Army and the Coast Guard and Rhonda's father was career Army Special Forces so this is something that is near and dear to both of us," said Weeks. "When I came up with the idea to have an event during the winter for Wounded Warriors, Rhonda supported 100 percent. Our Wounded Warriors have given so much of themselves for the security of our nation they deserve to have some fun and leave the stress behind, even if it is just for a day. It's the least we can do."

Wounded Warriors navigate the poker run course.

Wounded Warriors navigate the poker-run course.

During the poker run, the Warriors ride snow machines donated by local residents to five checkpoints along the course and draw a poker card at each checkpoint. At the end of the ride, the top three poker hands win. The Warriors also have a chance to win door prizes given away through ticket drawings. A local hotel donated the lodging for two nights; and three local restaurants provided meals, with the exception of one dinner that the club prepared. The event hosted eight warriors in 2014 and seven in 2015.

Happy riders after the day's fun.

Happy riders gather after the day's fun.

This year, thanks to generous donations, the club was able to give out several door prizes and a total of $400 in cash prizes. The event drew a large crowd of spectators and many of the Warriors had such a good time that they took a second lap around the course after finishing the run.

By: June Lowery, public affairs specialist, BLM

April 24, 2015

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