Members of the 25th class of Leadership Las Cruces were left hanging in the air during their visit to White Sands Missile Range, N.M. But not for long. Rappelling masters Ed Stahl and Ed Taitano soon had them sliding down the tower and climbing back for more.
Rappelling was part of the Oct. 20, 2017, itinerary at WSMR that also included lunch with WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Eric Sanchez and other key leaders, and a visit to the Cox Range Control Center.
Since 1991, Leadership Las Cruces, a professional development program sponsored by the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, has graduated hundreds of participants and helped expand their leadership pursuits. The program links individuals to the local community and provides professional development and mentoring to help them start or expand their leadership.
Their visit to WSMR left them with a better understanding of their military neighbors, while also helping some overcome the fear of the unknown at the rappelling tower.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Brandi Misquez of including WSMR as part of Leadership Las Cruces. “Conquering your fears for someone like me is epic,” she said moments after Taitano helped guide her through a tense initial descent down the tower.
Misquez said the visit also deepened her knowledge and awareness of the WSMR mission which would be beneficial both personally and in her job with the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce.
“We all know White Sands Missile Range is here, but no one really knows just how really large the base is and everything that goes on here,” said Misquez.
Fellow class member Midhat Quadri agreed. “I thought it was exciting and exhilarating punching through your fear,” said Quadri who by the end of the rappelling segment succeeded in making a head-first descent. “The instructors are fantastic and a pleasure to deal with,” Quadri said of Taitano and Stahl who kept the group laughing with their many quips as they provided instruction, guidance and support from the top of the tower.
Like Misquez, he also appreciated the opportunity to learn more about WSMR. “My first introduction to White Sands Missile Range was an eye-opener.”