Wounded warriors will visit Park City | ParkRecord.com

Wounded warriors will visit Park City

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Two soldiers who were wounded in combat will spend five days in December vacationing in Park City.

The trips came through the efforts of Christmas Can Cure and the Wounded Warrior Project. Fountain Green resident Bradley Chidester, Joseph Perez, of Logandale, Nev., and the men’s families were chosen to stay at Silver Star at Park City from Dec. 18-22.

"For these warriors and their families, returning to civilian life and coping with their disabilities has many challenges," Christmas Can Cure spokesman Andre Carrier said in a prepared statement. "For many, the mental and physical strain only gets worse around the holidays with the added pressure, both emotional and financial, of providing a perfect Christmas for their families."

Chidester, 27, was hurt in Iraq in October 2004 when shrapnel hit his face, arms and upper torso. Chidester was also shot in the leg as he exchanged gunfire with his attackers near Mosul.

Perez, 43, was injured in a mortar attack during a prison riot in Iraq in 2003. He suffered head, leg and spinal cord injuries.

"They were injured in war but they’re not in wheelchairs," Christmas Can Cure spokeswoman Nina Lynch said in a telephone interview. "They’re definitely dealing with their wounds and dealing with post traumatic stress disorder."

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During their stay the two families will ski at Park City Mountain Resort, sled at Soldier Hollow and watch some of the world’s best freestyle aerialists at Utah Olympic Park.

"We’re very excited to have the Park City community on board," Greg Lee, a spokesman for Christmas Can Cure, said in a prepared statement. "Not only is it one of the great ski towns, but it’s also home to the National Ability Center, the world’s premier rehabilitation and outreach facility for many men and women living with disabilities."

The events scheduled for the families during their stay include "simulated" Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations Dec. 19 and 20.

"We’ve got seven girls. Both warrior families have daughters," Lynch said. "So it’s this huge group of girls and it’ll be great."

There will be a flag-raising ceremony at Miners Hospital to honor the veterans on Dec. 19.

"That’s one of the places where we’d love to invite the community to come and join us," Lynch said.

The families also plan to play sled hockey Dec. 19 at the Park City Ice Arena, she said.

"They’re a little taken aback and they’re still digesting this huge enormous gift that they’re going to receive in a month," Lynch said about the families.

She said she hopes the Park City community pitches in to help make the stays more memorable.

"E-mail us through the Web site and tell us if your family, your group or your school wants to get involved," Lynch said. "They can understand a little bit more about what it’s like to be overseas and how the war affects these families."

Visit Christmas Can Cure online at http://www.christmascancure.org.

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