By Sgt. Mark A. Moore II June 14, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The sun never sets on the 10th Mountain Division. This is the motto of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, whose goal is to preserve and enhance the legacy of the division through community outreach programs and fundraisers.
Most recently, the Fort Drum Chapter, National Association of the 10th Mountain Division Inc. hosted the Strongest Warrior Competition on Saturday at the Watertown Fairgrounds YMCA to raise money for the 10th Mountain Division Wounded Warrior program and the 10th Mountain Division scholarship fund.
Some 40 participants competed for the title of Strongest Warrior and a chance to win a first- or second-place medal, a tomahawk and other prizes donated by sponsors.
Competitors were separated into three weight classes and timed in four events: a weighted sled push and pull, weighted farmer's carry, weighted rope pull and a 750-pound tire flip.
Events were organized and judged by some 10 volunteers with sports science backgrounds, some of whom drove from as far away as Dayton, Ohio, to help support the fundraising event.
"We love to do this kind of stuff," said Eric Sladeski, who drove more than four hours to help judge the competition. "We do it for the competitors, our friends and ourselves."
"Giving back to the community is something that is near and dear to my heart," said Jeff Reynolds, co-chairman of the Strongest Warrior event and retired first sergeant. "Being part of this association still allows me to connect with the Soldiers and civilians I once served."
For one competitor, it was less about winning a medal and more about the support they could give to the wounded warriors they know.
"Everyone knows someone who was injured overseas, and seeing that there is an organization that wants to help makes me want to go out and compete and support them," said Tim Kay, an infantry squad leader assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and a participant in the Strongest Warrior competition.
Sponsorship donations for the Strongest Warrior competition totaled some $15,000, all of which will go to the 10th Mountain Division Wounded Warrior program and the 10th Mountain Division scholarship fund.