|Awards:||Purple Heart Medal|
While recovering from my wounds received in Iraq, I often thought of my days as a kid with my dad in the fields and woods of W. Kentucky. I truly believe the desire to return to my hobby/vice/passion was a major contributor to my recovery process. I couldn’t wait to see, feel, and smell the wilds of America again. My thoughts were certainly my first motivation for making a rapid recovery.
After recovering enough to become an outpatient, physical therapy began. My strength was regenerating, but my mind needed more therapy than any professional could provide. I needed to know that I could still do what I really wanted to do – Enjoy the outdoors as I had all my life.
During the latter stages of my year-long physical therapy, I was privileged to be invited on several hunting and fishing trips and I was getting healthier in gross amounts. My mind was clearing and the absolute need to complete physical therapy was consuming me. I began attending therapy twice a day, five days a week and started swimming twice each week. Going home was becoming a reality.
Once back home in Paducah, Kentucky, I wasted no time in getting the cob webs knocked off of my gear. Although hunting season had closed for 2008, I wasn't disappointed; I had video and still cameras to do my scouting with. A greater sense of independence and security followed. My body weight and my emotional health were at their best in over two years as I worked tirelessly to improve wildlife habitat on my dad’s small rural property. I went into the 2009 deer season with great anticipation! I was as excited as if it was my first deer hunt and that very first hunt had been 22 years past. I was the Brad Alexander that my friends and family knew.
When I got the call from WWIA, inviting me to CA, I nearly jumped to the ceiling – And I only have one leg! A real dream-come-true was mine; all I had to do was be where I was told to be and on time. December 18, 2009 was on my calendar.
The hunting was better than I imagined and the folks I met in CA made the trip even better. I made friends that I continue to talk with and saw things that I'll never see in Kentucky. An added bonus was getting to hunt with my friend, battle buddy, and former platoon sergeant, Derek Duplisea.
I came away from the WWIA waterfowl hunting trip stronger and more independent yet. I mentioned earlier that words will not provide the feelings I want to express. WWIA allowed me to pursue a dream-hunt and further provided the therapy that no sterile Doctor's office will ever do.
Thank you, John, and WWIA! May you call on me to help your organization in any capacity!