Wounded warriors take on new challenges in W.Va. - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Wounded warriors take on new challenges in W.Va.


NEW RIVER GORGE, W.Va. (WVVA) The battle wounds from war can last long after a soldier returns home. But sometimes it is the psychological scars that leave a lasting impact. To help wounded warriors re-integrate, the non-profit Gathering of the Mountain Eagles takes injured servicemembers through challenges along the New River Gorge. 

"We try to put them in a situation where they are challenged and do things after injuries. Naturally, being in the military they do a lot of things outdoors. But sometimes after an injury, it's pretty tough," explained organizer Woody Aurentz. 

Army Staff Sergeant William Castillo was among participants who joined the group for a rafting trip with Adventures on the Gorge. During his second deployment, Castillo was blindsided in Fallujah, Iraq. 

"An IED went off, left me an amputee above the knee, but I'm very grateful. I'm the only survivor out of my incident." 

Castillo now serves as a role model for other wounded warriors working to take the next step.

"It's just a matter of going outside, getting with your battle buddies. Next, you are completing objectives, feeling who you are, and challenging yourself even more." 

Later in the week, the soldiers will take part in zip-lining, golf, and a tour of the Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley. 

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