Winter Fun Day at Pottle Tree Farm to Raise Awareness of Heart Disease

By Lura Jackson

 

For the last 15 years, the Pottle Tree Farm in Perry has been the site of a community-wide gathering in early February. Held to coincide with national Congenital Heart Disease [CHD] awareness week, the event is simultaneously a celebration of winter festivities as well as a profound reminder of the ongoing need to support families in the area who are caring for a loved one with a CHD. This year’s event – which is completely free to attend and participate in all activities – will be held on Saturday, February 10th, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Those who come to the Pottle Tree Farm on that day will be able to participate in a cross-country ski race, ice skating, scavenger hunt, downhill skiing and sledding, and a fireside potluck. Hotdogs and s’mores will be provided by the organizers, but all who would like to bring a dish that is convenient for a winter fireside are welcome to do so. Miles of trails winding through the picturesque woods of Perry have been cleared by volunteers and are ready to be traversed using whichever non-vehicular transport is desired. Equipment, including skis, snowshoes, and skates, will be provided at no cost by the Outdoor Adventure Center of Washington County Community College. At any point, participants can take a moment to have a complementary cup of hot cocoa to warm up. 

The annual event, which always draws a crowd of community members from across the age ranges, is organized by Stronghearts, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002 by Sue and Brian Duffy after the loss of their son, Seamus. The Duffys are joined in the organization by the Pottle family in honor of Jim Pottle, along with many other individuals and families from Washington County that have experienced the impact of a CHD.

While Saturday’s event has no cost associated with it, there will be a raffle held on-site for 50 gallons of heating oil donated by Dead River Oil Company. The proceeds of the raffle will be used by Stronghearts to assist local families. Monetary donations to Stronghearts are always accepted at www.stronghearts.org.

In 2017, according to the most recent newsletter released by Stronghearts, the organization raised nearly $5,000. The funds enabled the organization to send three children affected by a CHD to Camp Meridian, supported a family caring for a young child with a CHD, and provided funds to help a family with funeral expenses.