I want to take a moment and thank you for what you do and how you have helped me. I served in Afghanistan in 2013 where I was combat injured. I went through 3 back surgeries and 1 hand surgery. During my recovery on of my high school buddies (Mark Brasel) reached out to me about this group (Send-A-Vet) who helps wounded vets get out on some great outdoor trips. I contacted them and submitted my information and even attended their annual banquet which I might add was an awesome event to attend. This past spring you sponsored me on an all-expense paid Bear Hunt in Idaho. Not knowing what to expect going in I was very optimistic about the whole ordeal. I was picked up and drove all the way to Kooskie ID., which was a big step for me as it was the longest road trip I had been on since my last back surgery and I didn’t know how I would handle sitting that long. The staff and volunteers where very nice and hospitable to taking breaks and meeting all my needs. The other hunters and myself where put up in this beautiful cabin owned by the president of the club (Rick Sutter). He opened his home to us veterans to stay there for the duration of the hunting trip. All our meals and needs where met with the utmost care of the veterans.
The staff and volunteers catered to our needs and ensured that our disabilities where taken into consideration when determining where to place us for the best possible scenario. I have to say once I was taken to my hunting blind and left for the day to watch the side of the hill that it was the most at peace I had been in a long time. My mind filled with anticipation of seeing a bear in the wild that I had only seen in zoos let alone killing one. But I’m one who has been hunting and let down on several occasions but this was not the case. I successfully shot by first bear within the 2 hours I had been placed in that blind. I contacted the volunteers at the cabin and they came and retrieved my bear and proceeded back to the cabin to take care of the bear. I spent the rest of my trip helping out fellow hunters and volunteers as they where all veterans from different branches of service. Not only was the trip successful but it was very rewarding.
This trip helped me relieve so much pain, stress, frustration, anger, and anxiety that I suffer from. Hanging out with fellow veterans gives me sense of belonging cause they understand what I’m going through cause they have been there to. There’s was no fighting or arguing between the branches of military. Just stories of good times and bad times with fellow veterans who can relate. I will continue to support Send-A-Vet in any way I can and give back what they have given me. I cannot explain in words how much this trip meant to me and my family, just know that you have helped another veteran get through some dark days and I have light at the end of the tunnel and it looks wonderful.
CW3 Shawn D.