Mike Caselle serves as shop supervisor in the Medical Maintenance branch at U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. On a typical day at Fort Detrick, you'll find him overseeing the work of the technicians and supply specialists who maintain USAMRIID's laboratory equipment, or providing technical oversight on equipment contracts for the organization.
But on weekends during ski season, you'll have to go to Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg, Pa., to find Mike. That's where he volunteers as a ski instructor for Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization that teaches mentally and physically disabled adults and Wounded Warriors to ski.
On Feb. 13, Mike participated in a Two Top fundraiser in which he was challenged to ski 100,000 vertical feet. The event, designed to raise awareness of the foundation's mission, brought in over $10,000 in contributions. Of the 22 people who started the event, 16 finished. Mike completed the challenge in 12.5 hours, consisting of 107 runs and only one 10-minute rest break.
"I struggled, especially after run number 90," he says. "But it was a great experience."
Mike's family-wife Anna and daughters Sierra, 15, and Sienna, 12, were there to cheer him on; Sienna even rode the chairlift up with her dad so they could ski the last run together. She also volunteers as a junior instructor for Two Top on weekends.
Mike recently received his Professional Ski Instructors of America certification and is now a certified adaptive ski instructor. He says he hopes to continue volunteering this summer, as Two Top and On the Edge Children's foundation in Gettysburg, Pa., team up to provide waterskiing opportunities to Wounded Warriors and others.
Having retired from the Army himself in 2007, he feels a special bond with the veterans he serves.
"I'm just proud to be a part of all of this," he says. "What a great opportunity to do good things for deserving people."