Defending Freedom Warrior Weekend 2011 was held April 14-16 and provided nearly 30 Wounded Warriors with a weekend of skydiving, golf, parties and appreciation. Complete Parachute Solutions has been proud to host and sponsor this event to honor our nation’s greatest citizens for the past five years.
The event kicked off Thursday night with a welcome barbecue at the lakefront home of Bill Booth, one of CPS’ co-owners. Army Ranger veteran Dallas Wittgenfeld opened the weekend, skydiving in to the dinner with a huge American flag and landing on the beach. Volunteers, supporters and friends mingled with the warrior guests, sharing stories and hearing about the soldiers’ experiences. “Meeting the warriors is inspiring, but also meeting their spouses and partners who support them so selflessly and lovingly just blows me away,” says long-time volunteer and CPS staff member Eileen Rossi.
Friday was the day many of the warriors really signed up for: tandem skydiving at Skydive DeLand! Skydiving instructors and videographers graciously donated their time and life-saving talents to take the warriors up for a jump. CPS employee and volunteer Ann Miller says, “They’re so excited to be able to skydive – some of them can’t even walk – that’s what it’s all about and that’s why I volunteer not only for this event, but with a lot of other Wounded Warrior projects.”
After an exhilarating day of skydiving, the warriors were treated to a town block party, a first for the Defending Freedom Weekend. The city of DeLand lent assistance to hosting the event right in the heart of downtown and many DeLand businesses donated to the party in support. Volunteers, supporters and, of course the warriors, were treated to food, live music, drinks and good times. This may have been the first block party, but it certainly won’t be the last!
Golf was the game on Saturday, with a tournament hosted by Pelican Bay Golf and Country Club. CPS employees, joined by active duty servicemen, opened the tournament by skydiving onto the golf course right in front of the teams. Local business and supporters entered foursomes into the tournament, with all proceeds benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. Each team was joined by a warrior or active duty soldier to make a fivesome; this pairing gave participants the unique opportunity to interact and enjoy the event with the brave men and women the tournament supports.
Each hole on the course hosted a different game or treat, like Kermit’s Key Lime Pie samples, a dunk tank, whiskey tasting and paintball. Smiles, fun and even a few shenanigans were all over the course. A closing dinner at Pelican Bay ended the event, with many toasts made to new friendships, future plans and next year’s Defending Freedom Warrior Weekend!
Click the image below to view the full-size photo collage: