Jefferson Award Winner says challenge yourself and be active - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Jefferson Award Winner says challenge yourself and be active

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Mary Hirsch-Justice has an unusual philosophy on winter.

"As nasty and as cold as it is, it's good for us to be challenged by the cold," said Hirsch-Justice.

Ironically, it's something she struggles with.

"I hate being cold and yet I'm doing this but I get out here and I move. Yes you eventually get cold but you can do a lot outside and the fresh air is good for you," said Hirsch-Justice.   

Mary is the Director of the Fort McCoy Ski Patrol.  She volunteers over 250 hours each ski season. She patrols the hill and responds to emergencies but what she loves most is giving lessons.

"This is something kids can do as adults. They can carry this all the way through their life," said Hirsch-Justice.  

Mary has a full time job and when she's not at the ski hill, she is helping an elderly man care for his horses.

"It doesn't have to be anything extraordinary. It's help your neighbor.  Help do anything. Anyone that needs help just be willing to give that two minutes. Give that five minutes.  Just give. Pass it on. Help make this place a better place," said Hirsch-Justice.

Mary started skiing 14 years ago when she was 46 and says she plans to ski as long as she can.  Her father skied up until he died at 83.

"I plan to be doing this for...well, if I can ski at 90 I'm going to be really happy. My goal is to just don't do anything stupid, play safe and have fun doing it," Hirsch-Justice.   

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