Mt. Hood Meadows staff raises thousands for injured co-worker
David Weiss, 71, lost his life Jan. 13 after a crash near Rhododendron involving an alleged drunk driver. Weiss' widow Nancy Jo Ludwig will soon lose her left leg.
Ludwig was riding home with her husband on their motorcycle when Gresham man Robert Walsh, 54, crashed into them.
Police have said Walsh was under the influence of alcohol. He was arraigned on Jan. 16 on charges of manslaughter and DUII and is being held on $500,000 bail.
Nancy Jo has worked at Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort since 2013, and when her coworkers found out about her accident and medical bills, they started a GoFundMe page to help defer the costs.
"When we heard about GG's accident, we knew that the injuries that she sustained would include a costly lifelong rehabilitation and therapy, and as a ski and snowboard school, we wanted to offer some financial support for her," Josey Rice, Meadows ski and snowboard school assistant manager, told The Post.
"We are overwhelmed with how much everyone has donated," Rice added. "So far we have reached $5,200 and have had 457 shares on Facebook. We asked anyone that couldn't donate to share on their social media pages to get the message out to others. Beyond the GoFundMe page, Cascade Ski Club has raised $1,000 for GG and others have given cash."
So far the GoFundMe page has brought in more than $5,200, exceeding its original goal of $5,000, and Rice said the staff is determined to keep the fundraising going.
"When we finally got to speak to GG after the accident, the first thing we asked her was how she is doing, and her answer was 'I wasn't made to lay down and die,' and that has always been GG's personality," Rice noted. "The struggles in her life, the loss of her new husband and the loss of her leg have not kept her down. She is eternally positive and we all can learn a lot from her and are so glad that she is part of our Mt Hood Meadows family and will always be, in whatever capacity she can give us."
Ludwig has become well-known around the resort in her five years as a ski school instructor for her generous spirit, throwing snow frogs for students to find under their skis and bringing banana bread to share with coworkers and visitors on a regular basis.
"GG has always been very popular here in Ski and Snowboard School," Rice said. "She brings an amazing passion to teaching young children to ski that is infectious to the rest of our staff."
That "infectious" passion, is what Rice and her Meadows co-workers hope can return to the mountain again very soon.
"Mt. Hood Meadows does have an excellent adaptive program with amazing instructors trained in teaching amputees and other physical and mental special needs," Rice added. "We assured her that we had a sit-ski ready and waiting for her when she was ready to come back. Once GG is cleared for skiing and teaching from her doctors, we would love to see her be able to help teach with our adaptive program."