[Members] Roller Skiing Afghanistan

William Felts william.felts at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 7 20:25:14 EST 2018


It took me a bit of digging into the archives of the Colorado National Guard Biathlon Team FB page, but I think these are the photos you are referring to. Personally, I only had a few experiences with Coach Andy, but his character has had an obvious impact on our team. I hope these photos will help those who remember him as a friend to cherish his memory, and to be inspired by his love for family, country, and sport.
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Very Respectfully,

Colorado National Guard Biathlon Team


From: dean cahow
Sent: Friday, December 7, 5:13 PM
Subject: [Members] Roller Skiing Afghanistan
To: members at coloradobiathlon.org


Colorado Biathlon mates,

In September, Walter dropped the heavy news that Andy Wilkens had died.  I was saddened and also unhappy about that which I perceived as Andy’s ill-treatment by fate.  I've returned to thinking of Andy in the context that introduced me to him.  Biathlon.

Approaching Sunday's winter opener of the new CBC season, the first since Andy’s passing, I’m of a mind to offer “Chapeau!” to a fellow I enjoyed and admired very much and who gave much to our club through volunteerism and a reverence for the game.  Beyond our club, Andy, a Sergeant in the Colorado National Guard was a very active competitor, coach and organizer in the Colorado and nationwide Army National Guard biathlon programs.

Here’s Andy (2nd from L) posed with CNG biathletes outside the SMR Nordic Center.  I presume to suggest that Andy's mentoring had a hand in getting the other smiling three medal-winning ready.




I believe everything Andy did for CBC and for the Guard programs busted out from, among other things, his hard-wired desire to share his commitment to biathlon safety, poise on the field of competition, and passion for our sport.

There’s a particular picture I wish I still had in hand to share with you.  In it, Andy is doing a bit of roller ski training.  The wicked cool thing about the pic is that Andy, then on ANG tour of duty in Afghanistan was photoed training solo (nobody to roller ski with in A’stan that day? - go figure), in V2 stride on a base perimeter, chunked out, crap road, exerting against the summer heat on a high desert.  He skis not with a biathlon rifle on his back but a very much larger caliber military sidearm holstered on his hip.  I ask you, who loves biathlon more than a guy who would bring roller skis half way around the world to skate-dance on the tip of the spear at a military base in freaking Afghanistan?

Andy was a fine friend to our club and many of its members.  We’ll miss a good man.  Our Colorado National Guard biathletes will miss a real deal, comrade in arms.  Fortunately, we all had something in common with Andy that can carry forward indefinitely.

Good on ya, Andy.  Thanks for everything.






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