Wounded Warrior Testimonials
SFC, US Army
I would like to thank everyone for this trip. Not only was this trip a success, it brought complete strangers together who will have a bond forever. Words and “thank you” is not even remotely close to thanking the people that made this happen. I will forever be indebted to this fine group of people. Every person here was a prime example of an American! The time spent here took my mind off everything that usually keeps me awake at night. Can’t say thank you enough!
Alaska, Land of Dreams Come True It is always a very touching and worthwhile experience bringing new people into my life and hobby. I enjoy the time I get to spend showing all the great things in this area to new friends. I'll miss the common bonds of the military life, the razzing and fun we have, showing the beauty and wonders of my area with them. The weather, the company, the scenery and the catching were great. We ended up eating fresh fish, sharing stories and “Glacieritas,” and lamented that the time we had is nearing an end. It is my great pleasure to host these wonderful people; I am very thankful that I could help a few of them experience the glory and amazing country we all inhabit. Take care my friends, come on back.
This was my first WWIA event and the first time in Alaska. It has always been a dream of mine to fish and hunt in Alaska and this truly was a dream come true. I can’t say enough about the amazing hosts that made this event a success. John was spectacular and I can’t believe how much he did day in and out to make us comfortable and successful on the boat. I have never caught a halibut before and to have the opportunity to catch a 101.8-pound fish is amazing and will be a highlight for years to come. It was a wonderful experience to spend time with fellow warriors helping to open up about our experiences both in battle and the hurdles following. This trip also helped me in my personal recovery and ability to reach out to other veterans and to see the generosity and compassion of others in our communities. Thank you so much for everything. I will never forget!
CPT, US Army
What can I say? This was an experience of a lifetime. My first time fishing in Alaska and boy was it an amazing experience. I will try and do it again someday and bring my kids if I can. I want to give a special thanks to John for hosting this event and WWIA for being there for our veterans and giving us a second chance at brotherhood and to be able to hang out with our brothers-in-arms once again. Thank you for this. I will always remember it as a highlight of my life. Thank you.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend this experience. I am very humbled to be among such a great group of people. The kindness of the host John Moline, Susan, and the others was very touching. How can I describe the beauty of this place in words? To me it is a slice of heaven. The other warriors have become my brothers since we met and will have lasting friendships from this gathering. The comradery I felt hanging out with heroes such as these men has been a long time. I very much enjoyed seeing the guys that live in the Midwest catching the biggest fish in their lives. I feel like I have a new extended family just a bit north of me. I would hope that more warriors get to experience this wonderful adventure. Thank you again for this experience.
SGT, US Army
I love what the WWIA stands for and they more than back it up. I may have only caught a bass, but the guys made up for it with time spent and conversation. Wonderful group of guys—God bless them.
SSG, US Army
Initial value.I just wanted to start by saying I really appreciate WWIA for what they do for me and other vets. We are on the first ever MO-KAN Catfishing. It has been one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. The crew here is a wonderful group of guys. The best thing on this trip is there is no hustle. It’s so laid back and peaceful. They have put me on the biggest catfish I have ever seen in person! We caught 225lbs of fish. I cannot say enough good things about this fishing trip. WWIA is truly an amazing group.
SSG, US Army
We can not express our gratitude for your generous donation to make this hunt possible for us. It was an absolute once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten by either of us. We were both able to harvest great bears and meet some of the best folks we have ever had the pleasure to meet in the McMann's. It is because of people like you that the WWIA can continue their amazing mission to help Purple Heart recipients heal. Thank you so much for your generosity.
What a great trip! I appreciate everything that everyone has done for me. Dan and his family were AWESOME! A great host and an awesome camp. We were always relaxed and had great conversations. The food was delicious and there was plenty of it. Jeremy taught me a lot about PA and PA hunting. It’s always nice to learn new parts of the country—he’s a great person to represent WWIA. Although there were no turkeys harvested, I had an exceptional time during my visit. Great food, atmosphere, conversations, but most of all, great AMERICANS!
SFC, US Army
The 3rd year is in the books and once again I’m worn out and revitalized at the same time. I’m so fortunate to be blessed with the opportunities this Foundation has given me. The relationships I have built are lifelong and so meaningful to me. All of these Heroes have sacrificed so much more than me, but they are so strong and very capable. Their resolve is inspiring! I draw strength from them and find comfort that their love of country is as strong as mine. Many thanks to the Harris family, Bob and Glenna and everyone that made this happen, especially the WWIA! God Bless.
This tournament is one of the things that I look forward to the most all year. The things that WWIA does at the DHMBT are amazing for my morale. The Harris family and this entire group make all of the Wounded Warriors feel like family and include us in everything that they do. I cannot thank the WWIA Foundation enough for bringing me on this trip and introducing me to these lifelong friends. Thank you!
WWIA has done it again. I forgot that I have PTSD. I found peace in my everyday life. The amount of brotherhood that has transpired since we have been here is overwhelming. I haven’t been this happy in a long time. Working away from my family has been so hard, but coming to this makes me feel like I am around my family again.
PO2, US Navy
A huge thank you to Wounded Warriors in Action for this trip! A big thank you also to Bob and Hlenna for welcoming us into their home and to the Harris family for everything! This is not a trip that I will soon forget!
First time to Mexico and what an amazing experience. This place is paradise—the people are incredible. Thank you so much for this trip and allowing veterans the opportunity to get back to the Great Outdoors. Thank you to the Harris family, Bob and Glenna and WWIA for this. God bless.
What an amazing trip with great Warriors, generous Americans and savvy local fishermen. The Dave Harris crew along with Bob and Glenna spoiled us rotten. I am forever grateful to have been invited on this once in a lifetime trip. God bless WWIA and the USA!
SSG, US Army
Honestly, this is the best trip I’ve ever been on. Fishing is great, but meeting these guys is what these events are about. I can’t thank WWIA enough for this opportunity. I truly feel honored and blessed to be here. Thank you from the Wickens clan. WWIA is amazing.
SGT, US Army
This is the first trip I have ever been on to Mexico. Yesterday I caught my first saltwater fish ever. It was an experience of a lifetime. WWIA has given me an opportunity that very few people will have a chance to experience. I am indebted to this organization. What an amazing trip to Puerto Aventuras. Muchas gracias!
I would like to thank WWIA for inviting me and my wife for this fishing trip. It has been a pleasure to meet some soldiers that you can relate to and have went through some of the things that you have gone through. This was really a great trip and it touches my heart to hear some of the stories. Thanks to Brad and Julie for opening up their home to us and the fishing trip, and for the things you all have done for our wives. Thank to Buck and his wife for what you all have done. Thanks WWIA,
SFC, US Army
This weekend was a great time. To meet other combat wounded vets and their family, it was great to hear their experiences and struggles as I did. Just to be around great people with open arms, everyone that understands you and some of the things you’ve been though not just the combat wounded but our spouses. This helped them know that we aren’t the only ones doing and going through what we go through and provide a better understanding. I thank WWIA for providing us with this opportunity and would love to stay a part of this association. I can’t thank Brad, Julie and Buck and Kim enough but thank you again.
SGT, US Army
I would like to say it has been a blessing meeting a great team who’s been so open with their family stories and what they have been through to shape your testimonies and life stories. Everyone is blessed in every way and God brought us together as a family. I’m thankful for meeting everyone who has serve for our country and I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done. We had a great time this weekend, bonding and getting to know all. Thank you.
Hi, I would love to thank WWIA for a great weekend. This weekend has been a great experience for my husband and I. Words cannot express the greatness that was handed to us. Everyone and everything was just so wonderful. The hospitality shown was beyond and above. We have had a great stay. Getting to meet new couples that are going through some of the same things we are or have been through, that’s healing to my husband and also to me as well. I just want to say thanks from the bottom of my heart. This was a weekend that will be remembered forever. Thanks again WWIA for all that you all have been doing- it’s a great thing. Julie and Brad, thanks or opening up your home to us. We really appreciate everything, Buck and Kim everyone for your hospitality and we just say thanks again.
This weekend has been a huge blessing. We appreciate so much all that you do and your selflessness is amazing. We had a wonderful weekend and we love you and the new friendships we have made.
I thank you for the chance to be involved with WWIA. It was a pleasure to be on the receiving end of your hospitality. Can’t thank all those involved enough to make this a special week for myself and my wife (princess) special thanks to Brad, Julie and Shay for opening their home to us.
The Inaugural Ohio Turkey Hunt was an outstanding event. Above all Jim Kailburn and his family and friends were incredible. You couldn’t have asked for nicer people. Though we didn’t get a turkey, it was great to get away for the weekend and unwind in a beautiful area. It was fun. I hope we do it again.
This was my first time visiting Canada. What a beautiful country. Through extreme generosity and caring people, I was able to go on the hunt of my dreams! The first night in the stand, it seemed all of the planets aligned. After sitting for a while, Derek said, “Within the hour we are going to see bear.” About three minutes later, a beautiful mature black bear came from behind us. We waited to see how she measured against the barrel. She was bigger! The right moment presented itself and the first shot was perfect! I have now accomplished a huge feat on my bucket list. I am so grateful and truly thankful for this opportunity. Derek is a phenomenal person and will always be considered family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who were involved and helped a dream of mine come true.
A great group of guys from around the country got together to share a passion, talk about their military service, challenges now and then and were able to relax/breathe in Central Wisconsin’s lakes and woods. It still amazes me how easy and natural it is to just “click” with other service members from all parts of the country/service branches/MOS’s. Todd, Tony and Mike were the bonding facilitators. They were excellent! Great and generous people as well as American patriots. Can’t say thanks enough!
SGT, US Army
I had a blast! The hosts were amazing. The accommodations were outstanding. It was everything I thought it would be and more! I would love to do this event again. Thank you for the opportunity to meet and hunt with fellow warriors.
SGT, US Army
Awesome weekend! Since I came home I lead a very secluded life. It was very nice to be around other combat vets who have been there. I really appreciate everything Wounded Warriors in Action has done for me. I am really looking forward to more, hopefully. Frenchy was awesome. Great communication and really made sure we were getting the most out of the weekend. Thanks for are you guys do! I am hugely grateful.
SPC, US Army
It is tough to put into words how appreciative I am for the chance to spend the last couple of days with such amazing people! This weekend was truly a blessing and was a great reminder of the truly incredible people that are out there. Todd was stoic in a way that I kind of expected from a guy from WI, but also exhibited incredible warmth and generosity as he and dawn opened up their home to us. Tony makes the best turkey burger I have ever had. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the blind with Mike and the conversation made the chilly hours pass in a flash. Joh, Darren and Steve—it was great getting to know you guys! I hope to get to see you all again in the future and I felt right at home with you all immediately. I rarely feel that these days, even with my fellow Marines. Thank you to all involved for blessing me with this trip, and the pleasure of your company. I won’t forget the cheese curds or the epic pig hunt story anytime soon. God bless you guys!
I myself have greatly enjoyed being part of the KS Cast and Blast. Leading an event for the first time was. Little nerve racking at first, but once everyone showed up my nerves were calmed. I greatly appreciate all the support and information from your end. It helped put tremendously!! Thank You for all you doing for the WWIAF!!
SGT, US Army
This is an excellent event. The whole community welcomed us with open arms. I could not have had any better times and memories. I can see by this event that I am not alone. I'm not the only vet that has had trouble, and how there are great people across this nation that support us, the vets. I have made many memories and hopefully life long friends on this event.
SGT, US Army
The experience was amazing. The care and support we were shown was outstanding. Spending time with other wounded vets and feeling like I'm not alone in my struggles was therapeutic. The whole experience has been beyond what I could have imagined. Thank you so much WWIA!!
SGT, US Army
I couldn't have asked for a better trip. From the travel to the host, everything was laid back, stress-free and definitely a memory that will live in my mind forever. I think if the same standard is maintained here, any veteran would be lucky to go on this trip.
SFC, US Army
I had the best experience. This was my first time hunting anything other than bird. I wasn’t so lucky until the second and third evenings when I finally saw a four-point buck, three doe and a button buck. This trip has been a blessing. Not only did I get to relax in the country with some very wonderful people, they also taught me to hunt and gave me the full hunting experience. I have met and made some wonderful friends and hope to keep in touch. Godspeed and best wishes to all involved.
CPL, US Army
Having the opportunity to be a part of WWIA and being able to join the Alabama trip has been and amazing, once in a lifetime experience. Words cannot even begin to explain how amazing Mr. Russell and everyone that had a hand in this weekend have been. Truly blessed to spend an amazing time with amazing people! Semper Fi.
I had a great time on the WWIA deer hunting trip and had great hosts and associates. I look forward to many more hunts with WWIA. Thank you for supporting the veterans.
SPC, US Army
This opportunity was amazing. Bar far more than I could have ever conceived. Being able to get away from life for a few days and just hang out with awesome people doing the things we all wish we had more time to experience was and is going to stay a memorable experience for me. From hanging out with the locals to catching fish I read about, to learning the history of the town were all high points for me. Thank you all for this event and the thought that went into it.
This trip was much needed and I am greatly thankful to everyone that helped make it a success. I was able to do things like catch a shark which I would have never dreamed of doing.
This experience is really what I needed. Every single person I met made me feel welcomed and comfortable. The atmosphere everywhere was awesome, not to mention all the fish we caught. The storytelling and guitar playing was on point. I don’t think I had a single issue and the history part just completes this experience. Thanks for everything.
I would like to say what an outstanding organization that WWIA is. Their team of professional staff is great and really care for the Soldiers. I went on a Turkey/ Hog hunt and harvested my first bird with a bow!! Thanks Frank for the great calling to get the bird in! Mr. Ward was an excellent host along with his guide team and kitchen staff Mr. Bill. Thank you all whom helped out in anyway by putting on suck a great event THANK YOU!!
SSG US Army
I just want to say thank you very much. It’s been an amazing experience being able to connect with other people and get to hunt at the same time. I’m not much of a writer, just thanks to everyone who made this possible.
Just like to say thank you so much for having me on this trip. Such a great opportunity to meet some really great people and enjoy the outdoors. Was awesome to meet people who have been in my shoes and shared experiences. Please continue events like this for it helps soldiers in so many ways. Programs like this truly saves lives. Made so many new friends. Just an amazing heart felt time. Thank you so much again.
I want to say thank you for going out of your way to getting my contact info, and the invite for the turkey hunt. It was an amazing experience. I had an absolute blast. I couldn't think of a better way to slow down the everyday stresses of life, and enjoy the weekend with some amazing people. I can't thank you enough.
This is one of the few moments I’ve encountered where people actually cared of what I have done in my service to the Marine Corps. The other Heroes are great to be around. A big shout out to Wounded Warriors in Action for coordinating all this and making this trip fun. I will pass on the knowledge and comraderies I have experienced here. Have a happy and fruitful new year!
The WWIA experience is amazing. It is run with the highest standards, with the emphasis on having a good time. It is also one of the most healthy environments any soldier can be in. It is a total package for PTSD therapy. You are surrounded by people that care and understand what we have been through. It is by far the most honest and caring non-profit organization. This experience has changed me and I will never forget this experience. Oh, and duck hunting is a blast!
As life develops we all experience different things. In military life this is very true depending on your unit, MOS, and position. I have personally found some very rough experiences within the military to date. I can’t compare this to any other story, but I can say that it has been a struggle. WWIA has shown me that there are folks in America and there are people that still truly care about our Armed Forces. This duck hunt in OBX, NC with the Foundation has proven that to me. I have never seen so much Patriotism and true kindness to the military than I have on this trip. I want to say Thank you and that this trip is not forgotten. The friendships, bonds, stories, and ducks we killed cannot be lost in my mind. I felt like one of the team and had a blast! I recommend WWIA to anyone that can make a trip! It was Amazing!!! My deepest thanks!
This is my 3rd year attending the Currituck Duck Hunt event in N.C. and once again, the people donating and hosting this event have topped last year. I have met some really great guys and continue to see guys attending their first event open up and enjoy themselves. WWIA is a great organization and continues to provide great events and opportunities for guys to build lasting friendships and continue healing.
Absolutely fantastic experience. I could not imagine a more amazing group of people than the ones I got to meet on this hunt. Even with the less desirable weather to begin the hunt, the guys kept everyone motivated and ready until Mother Nature finally cooperated. It was great to be able to get away from the stresses of work for a few days and spend it with these awesome folks. I cannot express how grateful I am that I was able to attend this event. Thank you so much!
Thank you so much for the opportunity to hunt duck, geese and pheasant. This was my first trip with WWIA and it was an awesome experience. This trip is something I will never forget.
This was my first time duck and goose hunting and it was beyond my expectations. We shot so many birds, from mallards and geese to pheasants and chuckers. Watching all the guys call in the birds and seeing the dogs work and retrieve the birds was a sight to see! The host, Brian, and the rest of the crew, Tim, Gabe, Jr., Chip and so many more were outstanding in their hunting knowledge and treated me like family. The generosity in this organization is amazing. Thank you so much for everything—WWIA is outstanding!
Thank you so very much for this once in a lifetime experience. The generosity and hospitality was fantastic. It humbles me to know that there are such wonderful people in this great country. The dogs, the birds, the company are all top notch. WWIA made this whole trip absolutely epic!
The hosts Dan Doll, Dave “Stu” Studentka, Don and John Hagwood were excellent hosts and die-hard waterfowlers. These guys bent over backwards and put a lot of hard work into making this event the success it was. I can’t tell them thank you enough. I’m still in awe of the amount of waterfowl experienced. Can’t wait to see everyone again. You guys rock!!
Thank you for the opportunity to join this trip. So far everyone has been very warm and understanding. We went out this morning to set up and before we could finish, the sky turned black with waterfowl. It was just an amazing thing to see. Regardless of how much fun it was to hunt ducks and geese, the staff and people were great to be around. Everyone who sponsored this trip was a blast to talk to and hang out with. All in all I had a great time and hope that I can do it again sometime. Thank you again for this opportunity!
Thank you so much for this opportunity! I’ve had such a “blast” out there! From the moment I met all the guys, I didn’t even care if we’d gotten any waterfowl. Just hanging out with everyone was all worth it. It’s hard to explain how much this experience means, and how much the guys who are here mean to me. The guys are awesome and it was so easy to connect with them. This was the first time I’ve ever waterfowl hunted and it was most likely the best hunt I will ever have.
I had the best experience. This was my first time hunting anything other than bird. I wasn’t so lucky until the second and third evenings when I finally saw a four-point buck, three doe and a button buck. This trip has been a blessing. Not only did I get to relax in the country with some very wonderful people, they also taught me to hunt and gave me the full hunting experience. I have met and made some wonderful friends and hope to keep in touch. Godspeed and best wishes to all involved.
I want to thank WWIA and JoA services for a one in a lifetime experience. It’s not often I get to spend time with fellow service members who understand and sympathize the daily struggles of post war living. This was one of the easiest and stress free weekends I’ve had in a long time. Could not have asked for a better group of guys to host and a beautiful establishment.
I would like to take this time out to thank Russ Johnson and all the volunteers. This has been such a great time. We were welcomed like family and treated as such the entire time. I can’t thank everyone enough. This event with Russ and WWIA helped me on my road to recovery. I will also take memories home with me that will last a lifetime. Thank you WWIA
I would like to thank WWIA, Russ Johnson, and his crew of top notch guys, Roger Raglin and his son, and the rest of the guys on the hunt with me. It was a great experience getting to know fellow soldiers and marines who understand what challenges we all endure as wounded warriors. This weekend’s memories will last a life time. Thank you.
SSG, USA, Ret
SSG, USA, Ret
I first want to express my deepest gratitude for the invite to the hunt in New York. I didn't put a dent in the deer population but I have something greater. I have new friends in new places that I can call on to just talk, or go have a cup of coffee with when I am in the area. There are things more important in life than getting a deer on a hunt. Things like reliving the good times deployed with other soldiers that might or might not have been in your area. Meeting new veterans who may or may not be as goofy as me. Talking smack across service lines. I have had more fun on this hunting trip than I ever had hunting before. I think maybe that it wasn't really the deer I was hunting for. Maybe it was just talking to other guys who get it. I think you’re doing a wonderful thing up there in Newfield, NY. I wouldn't change a thing.
Everything has been first-class. Thank you WWIA! It’s been an incredible experience. I truly believe that I’ve made some lifelong friends because of this event. Mother nature has a way of healing herself and I believe it’s got a natural way of healing me. It was great being around some true patriots. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I appreciate everything and everyone involved.
This has hands down been the greatest hunting trip I have ever been on. Dennis and Shelly are two of the best people you will ever meet. Derek was an awesome liaison and now a great friend. This hunt I killed my first bobcat. Needless to say I am super excited. I hope I’m invited back next year. Truly memories that will last a lifetime.
It is such an honor to come here and get to know all these wonderful people. First class, all the way. Food was great, the place is great. Dennis and Shelly are truly beautiful people and really care from their hearts for all the Vets that come here. The cabin is beautiful, hunting great. It is truly an honor to call them and all the people I met my friends. So much thanks.
PS I have had a great mistrust of people for a very long time, but being here and seeing how I was treated by both Dennis and Shelly as well as Derek has given me faith in people again. It has been a true pleasure to be here with such great people. The men, my brothers in arms, that I met here were also a pleasure. We are the same but different. Different wars but same results. Healing is a long process but with people like these, it makes that healing much easier. Always remain as you are. You do great work as well as all from WWIA.
My experience at Great Creek Hunt Club was an epic experience. Great people, everyone going out of their way to help us. Thank you to all who helped.
When I received the call about a hunting trip in Alberta, VA I was as excited as a kid ready to go to Disney World. It was about two months out so I built up the anticipation. Finally on the way up here from Camp Lejeune, NC I built up in my imagination what Great Hunt Creek would be like. The hospitality is unbelievable. I’m an Islander/out of his demographic and the men and women of the club treated us like one of their own. Not one uncomfortable moment. At the first still hunt I had an opportunity to shoot at some deer and bagged a doe. Running the dogs brought an adrenaline rush very similar to combat. It is such a great experience. After the hunts the camaraderie and brotherhood continues as if the men of the club served with me in the Marine Corps. They showed great humor and sarcasm demonstrating to use what long lasting friendships could be. I’d do this again and again if I could. Thanks to the club and WWIA for giving us the opportunity.
To be honest I had no idea what to expect coming here to the club. The words to describe my feelings on shooting my first deer would not put the justice of what happened. I am having the time of a lifetime. I cannot thank the Great Creek Hunting Club and WWIA enough for this opportunity. Everyone is kind and would give the world for you. It’s an honor to be invited here. I will forever remember my first deer and all of you. It’s very humbling to think guys like all of you do this for guys like me. Thank you. God bless.
Where to begin? This has been an awesome time. Great people, great event, great food. From the time I arrived it has been a warm, wonderful greeting from everyone. To be able to cut loose and be myself is what I needed. The veterans on this event are great people and will be friends for life. Mark Broda has done an awesome job making sure everything went off without a hitch. Rock and family are some of the greatest AMERICANS in this country. True lifetime friends have been made and I look forward to making more memories with this organization. This organization is TOP NOTCH. Great time had by all. Thanks for everything.
Sgt US Army OIF 06-07
I really don’t know where to start. This weekend I have met the MOST genuine people I have ever met! The amount of support amazes me. It was so amazing that I had a weekend where I didn’t have any worries or responsibilities. It is exactly what I needed. Everyone I met was kind and caring, and you can tell it was genuine. I am sure I will leave here with solid friendships after only three days. I really can’t thank you all enough! Thank you so much!
Words cannot express how thankful I am for this trip. “Rock” and the Murphy family as well as the wonderful community here have truly went above and beyond for my brothers and I to relax, unwind, reflect and keep moving forward. I have enjoyed EVERY second of the trip and my mouth hurts because I have laughed more, talked more, and smiled more than I have since I hung up my boots. Thank you for the memories.
Jeremy and Dan,
I can't tell you how much I thank y'all for helping our nation's combat wounded. Hunting is just a small part of what you are doing. To meet people just like us means more than you know, I would like to thank you for the chance to meet these wonderful people.
I could never put into words how thankful I am for the opportunity you guys give us. To open your home and your land for us to come and hunt is really something special. Thank you so much! I can tell you that I will never forget this weekend. You have such an amazing home and property. It is amazing how homey it felt. Thank you both so much.
Dennis and Shelly, thanks for the opportunity to harvest a deer. I truly enjoyed myself this weekend. I had fun and excitement that I haven’t had in 8 years. This is the push I needed to get back into a sport I grew up loving. Thanks for everything.
Thank you. That is the only way to begin. The hospitality was amazing and very welcome. It is not often that complete strangers can meet and have an instant connection. The heroes had a great time as did I. The property here is amazing and peaceful. Thank you for everything!
WWIA Associate and Guide
This four day weekend at double creek has been one of my favorite hunts ever!!! The atmosphere here is warm and welcoming. One of the best moments here was there conversations around the table. Shelly and Dennis were the greatest hosts and their hospitality was that of family. Thank you!!
Final thanks to WWIA for giving me the opportunity to attend this event!
“It’s the veterans that appreciate you all.”
From the first call I received about coming to the PA Cast and Blast I was excited and ready to enjoy time spent with vets of all services and eras. This weekend gave me a chance to meet really good people from the great guys at the two camps and the vets that came as a part of the WWIA. I am grateful to all those that ran the program and helped out, it was a great time. I hope I can be a part of the program more in the future.
This has been my second opportunity to go on a hunt put on by the WWIA. They provide the best experiences for wounded veterans from the staff that reaches out to you, to finding the best hosts for these events. Sandy Deveney and the rest of the team that fed, housed and provided us with the opportunity to come to their camp are the reason the WWIA is so successful at giving the wounded warriors a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I came here not knowing what to expect, but with an open mind. I had never been hunting in my life and was very unsure and anxious. I really admire these men that took me through everything, showing me and coaching me along to ensure I had a successful weekend. Very knowledgeable and friendly. With the companionship that was here made for a wonderful weekend for all. The food was always great and there was such a history on this land. I’ve had an outstanding weekend and couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Thank you very much,
This is my 2nd Cast and Blast. This time I had a track wheelchair which made the trip more enjoyable. Just being here was what I needed. Thank you again. SEMPER FI
John and Dawn,
You both are such amazing people. My time here at your lovely place and “Camp Stillwater” has been such a blessing. It’s very healing and humbling at the same time to be here. Your passion for our countries WIA Veterans is so moving. Being here makes me want to do more, to do my part like both of you have done.
Dawn you are such an awesome and amazing part of WWIA. You made me feel so welcome and at home here. John is a lucky husband to have such an awesome wife. WWIA is lucky to have you!
John and Brian, Thanks for all your hard work. You both are awesome. You both are welcome in SO Cal at my place anytime!
John and Dawn,
The time at Camp Stillwater will be remembered forever. Not just for the hunt but for the meeting of good people and good times. The knowledge gained here will stay with me throughout my time. What you are doing will stay in good memory and has opened up a new door for new adventure. Keep doing what you are doing, it is making a difference for the good for all WIA.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
John and Dawn,
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This week has been nothing but peace ad adventure. Camp
Stillwater is a true place of healing. My life until now has been full of stress and turmoil, but John and Dawn made that feeling go away.
When I return home the wonderful experience here will forever be in my heart and soul. Your accommodations here at Camp Stillwater were amazing. The no pressure atmosphere made me feel at home.
Once more thank you all for showing me a better path I did not think existed.
SFC US ARMY
John and Dawn,
From the bottom of my heart, I am forever thankful! From the second I landed in Seattle, I strongly felt at home and comfortable. Dawn, thank you for taking care of all of us! You took such amazing care waking up in the middle of the night to make us food, and made sure we got out of the door on time... Thank You! The atmosphere at camo is unlike anything or anywhere I have ever been. You both made this a second home for the last week. I am leaving here in peace and at peace.
First I need to thank Jim Reisdorf (husband, Viet Nam veteran, Marine/ Army reserve) for watching on TV a WWIA hunt in 2009. That started our journey of hosting the WWIA Upland NY Bird Hunt / Couples Retreat. This being the 5th year of hosting WW's, and 3rd year hosting couples, thanks to Fae Horsley, wife of Shawn Horsley who we hosted in 2011. I can't begin to share the difference it has made to include the wives, 2 who shared in this are also Purple Heart Awardees. The WW's (men) have a beautiful hunt experience with pheasants and chuker, while the wives have a "girl time" on a wine tour and Spa time. The men connect in an amazing way as the wives do it in a "girl's way". They each share life before so many tours and the way life evolves after the tours. It is so awarding to hear each of them sharing and caring about so many concerns, and joys. They also have fun couple times.
This year hosting Caleb & Tannia Dillon, Bob & Rebbecca Simonovich, & Milt & Heidi Yagel. Each one was so appreciative of all that we did for them to make this a special time in their lives, to be recognized and thanked for their service to our country. I WISH we could do more! It is such a privilege to honor these couples for what they have sacrificed for myself and so many.
I am so blessed to have a beautiful daughter and son-in-law Christie & Shawn Ingram, who were with me every step of the way. This year 2014 was in memory of Jim (JR) Reisdorf. Because of Christie, Shawn, friends and so many supporters this year was a great success. With so many emotions myself, my team helped to continue Jim's Legacy to do this event. I will never be able to thank enough all of those who helped in so many ways.
I look forward to 2015, Sept 25th to 28th to continue this journey. God Bless the USA and all of the men and women who have served for each of us so that we have the rights and privileges that we have to be an American.
Mary Lou Reisdorf
Thank you for the amazing experience that you guys provided. I was really on the fence about going because of my issues and was terrified to be around people that I didn't know or serve with. John Koeing and crew were amazing, caring and understanding people. I left the camp feeling like John had earned my trust. That is not an easy feat for me. I really am feeling a lot happier and motivated to make a change in my life.
I just wanted to let you know what an amazing trip we had with your Wounded Warriors. We could not have asked for a better group of guys. The camaraderie between the Warriors and the participants was very special. At the end of the trip, guys who had known each other for 5 days were hugging each other like they were lifelong friends. I know my brother Dave would have been very proud to have his name on an event that was able to bring so much joy to these true American heroes.
I cannot say enough good things about your people. Dixon and Corrina were a pleasure to deal with and both were very responsive. Mark Broda was fantastic to work with. We all know that the logistics of an international event are large in scope and very complicated. The reason this trip was such an overwhelming success for both the Heroes and our participants was because of Mark Broda's tireless efforts. He put in an unbelievable amount of time both before and during the trip to make sure all your guys were taken care of and everything went off without a hitch. When I asked my brother if he wanted to do the Wounded Warrior thing again next year, he said "Absolutely, as long as Mark Broda is running it." Mark is a true asset to your organization.
On behalf of my brothers and I and our families, we want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to host these Wounded Warriors on this trip and to be a small part of what WWIA does. Your organization is doing great things and it was an honor to be a part of it. Keep up the good work.
Upon my arrival to Rockport, I was very nervous; not knowing what to expect in conjunction with the fear of being the only fisherman to not catch any game due to a loss of feeling in my hands. However, with your support and hospitality, I was able to overcome my nerves and find comfort and relaxation almost immediately. That is very surprising to me, because I’m not usually a person that can find comfort in an unusual place. I don’t have the words to properly describe exactly what the trip meant to me during this stressful time in my life. This period where I face medical retirement from the Military that I have spent the majority of my adult life and have grown to love. At times, this period of my life seems dark and helpless, but this trip has brought light and hope to me. I was given the opportunity to build relationships with fellow Veterans, Veterans that have also transitioned from the military and have done so successfully. They offered advice and insight for my journey into the unknown and have helped me to find comfort and see that there is always life and hope around every blind curve; an experience that has proven to be one of the most invaluable experiences of my life. One of my favorite aspects of the trip was the cabin that you had built, which offered an open-bay concept affording us Veterans an opportunity to conjoin and bond through joke and conversation as we wind-down for bedtime. John, the fishing was amazing! Never in my life had I caught so many fish, especially fish of that size! Not to mention the incredible boat and gear that we used. Corrina, the food and hospitality were beyond compare, and I couldn’t be more grateful! This experience that you have offered to us will be cherished by us all, and if there is every anything that I can do for the Wounded Warrior in Action program, please let me know! I wish you both the best in all that you do, and I hope to hear from and you see you again soon. God bless.
It pains me to say, but at one point I had given up on myself, thinking my wife and kids would be better off without me. I have been struggling with several different issues since my injuries ranging from mental, physical, and emotional. Up until this point I was basically a shut in, and then we got invited to an event with other veterans. I didn't want to go, but my wife said we’re going so we went. That event made me start coming out more and more. Even four years ago I wouldn't have even attempted something like we did this past weekend. From the moment I found out I was going duck hunting in Wisconsin (with WWIA) I was very excited. As a fan of Duck Dynasty I have always wanted to go, but never had the opportunity. "Govey" took me out in a canoe to our duck blind/pontoon boat. It wasn't long before we had ducks coming in and we started blasting away. The next day we were out on Chain ‘O Lakes for some of the best fishing I have ever experienced. We were pulling in bass, both large and small mouth, hand over fist and most of them were over 5lbs. When we weren't catching fish we were laughing and having a good time through rain, sleet, and snow. I am not sure how to express all the gratitude I feel for being able to come to the Bayfield Cast and Blast. It has also renewed my passion for hunting, and given me several new friends in the process. Thank y’all for everything!
Cpl USMC Retired
We had an outstanding weekend. It was emotional draining in a good way. It was nice to be around other people that are going through the same thing as me and Shannon are. Shannon doesn't talk to many wife's of veterans and I feel that it was very helpful for her to understand that some of the things that we are going through are normal. I really enjoy every part of the weekend and can't wait to get my birds back from being mounted. I felt overcome with emotion after the weekend and did some soul searching to make sure that I am headed in the direction I want to take for Shannon and my son John. It was really good to be around Jim because he had a very successful life outside of the service. It was inspirational to meet him and be around Lou. It was a reminder that with school and hard work, I can be successful and happy. Thanks you for the great weekend and the experience.
We wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing Pheasant Hunt and Couples Retreat in New York that we were privileged to have been apart of. From the moment we got to New York, we were in a completely relaxed atmosphere. We can not say enough of the generosity, genuine caring, and compassion from everyone involved with this event, especially Jim and Marylou. They made us feel like family from the first moment we met them.
What we feel makes this event so unique is that that our spouses were apart of this event. For Cathy and I, we both have Purple Hearts, but we enjoy doing things together and feel more comfortable when we are out and about together due to our injuries. No one knows and understands what we go through, or what our specific issues are on a daily basis but our spouses. We rely on each other and feel more comfortable knowing each other is there.
Cathy had an amazing time with the spouses, it was an instant connection with the ladies. Marylou and her friends provided an extraordinary escape within a relaxing atmosphere for all the spouses while the guys hunted. They were able to relax and talk while sharing their experiences and resources available for disabled veterans. Having the other spouses there gave each of them the opportunity to realize they are not alone in the daily challenges their veterans face. Although each veteran is unique, they have similar mindset and the same struggles. This was an special opportunity for the spouses to come together, form friendships and feel the military spouse bond, even though their soldier is retired.
The pheasant hunting was awesome! But, it was not just the hunting, it was the fellowship with my fellow veterans and the all the volunteers who gave of the time and from their heart. There is a special healing that is difficult to explain when I get in the woods to hunt. It immediately calms me being in the woods or in a field in a country atmosphere. I was very at ease which doesn’t happen to often. The volunteers were very accommodating. They were very in tune to each of our injuries. I feel bad because I was the one who held up the other Warrior's because of my restriction to walk at a regular pace, The dog handlers were very gracious with keeping their dogs close enough to myself and other Warrior's so we all got a chance to shoot.
It was not the shooting that was so important, it was the fellowship and friends we all made over the time we were there. The friendships we made by just hanging around the lodge or watching the dogs work will last longer than then meat we were blessed to harvest. The ultimate harvest was the friendships we made and the connections are wives made with each other. It was truly a healing weekend for the vets and the wives also. Thank you so much for the chance and honor to be chosen to be apart of something so special.
I looked at your list of opportunities on the wwiaf website. There is a pig hunt scheduled in Tennessee. I contacted the lodge and both Cathy and I have signed up to volunteer for the event. We want to give back to wwiaf ,to pay it forward for other vets to have the amazing, life changing experience that we both have had with the Pheasant Hunt an Couples Retreat in New York.
Thank you very much,
SFC Todd Shaw and SGT Cathy Shaw
Retired US Army
This year Jim and I hosted our 4th Annual NY Bird Hunt and 2nd Annual Couples Retreat. It is hard to describe all the emotions of sharing with these eight wonderful individuals. The sharing of injuries, pain, trauma, and also all the love and happy moments in their lives. I admire each of them for their service to our great country and their strength, courage, love and especially the unconditional support they maintain for each other. I feel so honored to be part of their lives and to be able to give back to them a time to enjoy an outdoor experience in their healing process. God bless them and may each of them heal well.
Mary Lou Reisdorf
The 4th Annual NY Upstate Bird Hunt Couples Retreat was the most attention demanding, emotionally challenging and spiritually rewarding event that I have ever hosted. The couples who attended, David and Laura Marino, Todd and Catherine Shaw, Scott and Shannon Messier, and Nathan and Sabrina Gibbs were an inspiration to everyone they met. They all brought with them a team spirit and camaraderie that was enjoyable to observe and wonderful to be a part of. They will always be my friends and hero’s. Let the healing continue.
Hi John , Corrina, & Johnny Mac,
It doesn’t seem like a week has already gone by since I was fishing for the most salmon I have ever seen in my life. I can say without a doubt that I had never seen so many fish jumping on a hook as I did on 21 & 22 September, 2013. The fact that we caught over 150 fish each day. Now granted I wasn’t having quite as good of luck as the other guys on the boat but I still had a blast. My arms were sore for a few days from all the reeling we did. John did an awesome job of taking us to the right spots to ensure there were enough fish to keep all of us busy.
I would also like to express my gratitude to all the town people who came out on Saturday to honor us. It was an honor to have so many people gathered to show their support and warm thanks for our service to this nation.
The barbecue was excellent and the fresh salmon tasted great. The fact that this weekend was also the ribbon cutting ceremony of the veteran bunkhouse just added to all the great things that were being done in our honor and being there was a great honor for me.
Photobucket link for all my pictures of the weekend. http://smg.photobucket.com/user/wildman4x4nut/library/Pink%20Fest%202013%20Camp%20Stillwater?sort=2&page=1
I can’t put into words all my feelings about the weekend and everything that John & Corrina did for all of us. The breakfast sandwiches each morning was just one of the many things that both John & Corrina did/do for their guests making us feel not just welcomed but a part of their family. It is the type of treatment that makes you want to come back again and again. I felt comfortable around them almost immediately just because of the way John & Corrina make you a part of their extended family.
I honestly can’t tell you how I found WWiA but I am sure glad I did. I’ll have no problem telling others about WWiA and recommending them to any and all veterans that I meet. I can’t thank John McDaniel enough for thinking of this idea and more for taking the idea and making it into reality. The selfless sacrifice you make of your time and energy to keep this organization running from day to day. Also a HUGE thank you needs to go out to all the other volunteers who give of their time so freely helping to make this organization the success that it is.
I want to thank everyone for a great weekend and can’t wait for my next adventure with WWiA and look forward to seeing John & Corrina again too.
SFC US Army/National Guard Retired
Laura and I wanted to take a few brief moments of our day to express how thankful we both are to have participated in the 2013 Wounded Warriors in Action (WWIA) couples retreat in Upstate New York this month. We are very blessed and humbled by the wonderful people who helped raise the money and dedicated their time and resources to put this event together. We had a wonderful weekend filled with fun and good memories that will surely last a lifetime. As a wounded service member, I can personally say, that this WWIA trip will help keep me motivated on my path to recovery from all my combat related injuries. Your devotion, love and support helped give me the strength to continue my medical appointments upon my return from New York. I have a fresh outlook and knew perspective on paying it forward and I hope that you all continue to help support many more veteran’s over the years to come. God bless you all and thank you very much for making one weekend out of the year, a special celebration for my wife and me.
David and Laura Marino
My husband and I would just like to thank you for the amazing weekend and experience we had while in Upstate NY with Jim and Mary Lou Reisdorf. This program has given my husband so much joy and has given me peace of mind knowing that the people responsible for each event understand the nature of his injuries and work with him while he is out hunting or on the lake fishing. Jim and Mary Lou are amazing people and did such a great job putting together what was one of the best weekends we have had since my husband was medically retired from the Army. I could think of no one better to host that weekend then the two of them.
Thank You Again
Nathan and Sabrina Gibbs
I would like to thank John McDaniel for founding this fine WWIA organization. Also I would like to thank Tim Spence, Bob Shaffer for asking me to help with the annual Duck Hunt on (Currituck Sound). It is such an honor to meet and associate with a few of the finest Heroes that deserve a lot more than we could ever give back. If I can ever help with any events, please let me know. Looking forward to our spring turkey hunt. Thanks again.
I have a hard time getting out and doing things outside around people. WWIA has moved me closer to being better & normal. This event was awesome; the hunting, hang gliding & being around other wounded vets. I wanna thank everyone for this opportunity. Had a blast.
Would like to take a moment and thank Tim Spence and John McDaniel for allowing me to assist with this years Eastern NC Coastal Duck Hunt. Two years ago, I was a participant in the Camp Hackett Trophy Deer Hunt. I remember how excited I was to be able to participate in such a great event. I now enjoy seeing the smiles and excitement in other fellow wounded warriors. Assisting with these events fills me with pride knowing that what I do helps to heal these fine heroes. I am proud to be associated with WWIA and would be greatly honored to continue to serve this fine organization.
Bob (#1) Shaffer
The other Duck Commander!
American HEROES. American Sportsmen! Tim& Bob & everyone that put this together are the definition of that statement. I have made lifelong Brothers. The Ducks were flying and dying and the swan was dive bombing. Incredible people all around and I feel so blessed to be included with such incredible company! Every goal I set for myself this trip was achieved: Get my first Duck [x] Clean & dress my first duck[x] Relax with my fellow brothers[x] Get addicted to hunting[x]
Thank you so much! This was one of the best weekend I have had, and the first since my injuries I truly felt comfortable and happy just enjoying being “me” with my brothers.
18rds=1 miracle duck
God Bless & Thank you!
I hope I can repay the kindness!
A big thank you to Larry, Tim Brown, Tim Spence, Bob Shaffer for allowing me to be a part of yet another wonderful experience! A chance to meet some fantastic guys and to be a part of 4 Warriors Duck hunt experiences! The fellowship was great, the food was unbelievable. Just a thank you to all who served our country. Thank you for your service. Looking forward to May N.C. Cast and Blast.
What an amazing group of guys!! What an amazing organization!! Just being able to be around other folks that have been through and have faced the same uphill battles was phenomenal. Then to understand and see firsthand that all of this is done and sponsored by folks from the kindness of their heart….there are no words!! Not a single organization I have been involved with has ever done anything that did not benefit them in one way or another. NOT THESE GUYS!! Thank you so much for a wonderful time and experience!! Can never be duplicated. Semper fi Brothers.
What a great get together this was. Thank you guys for the great hunt and camaraderie. The food was fantastic. It means a lot to me to meet the other veterans and have a good time hunting and talking. I’ve never anyone thank me for serving our country so this was very special to me. Thank you guys for everything. The W.W.I.A. is a very special bunch of people. God bless you all for a wonderful weekend.
I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend this event in Ozona, Tx. I had the more fun this weekend then i have had in a long time and it was much needed. To be able to go to this event with Greg Hughes and to be able to get my first buck (9 point) is unreal. Thank you again.
This past August I participated in the black bear hunt in Washington with the WWIAF. Our hosts, John and Corina Koenig, provided a top notch, professional, adventure filled hunt for myself and three other wounded vets. This being my first bear hunt, I had no idea what to I was getting into. John was able to work with me and show me how to hunt regardless of my physical limitations due to the injuries I had. The Koenig family exceeded every expectation I had for this trip. They were very generous in opening their home to us and the local community showed great support for the WWIAF. It was really nice to be around fellow wounded vets and see how each person deals with their own injuries and the daily trials that come along with them. Trips such as these are exactly what our wounded vets need in order to heal both physically and mentally. I would most certainly participate in another WWIAF trip and highly recommend any and all wounded vets out there who enjoy the outdoors or want to try something new to join the ranks of the WWIAF.
Troy R. Givens
1LT, EN CBWTU-CA
I had a great time out on lake Erie I couldn't of asked for a better bunch of guys to go on a fishing trip with. Everyone was able to be there self and have a great time. I have to say a special thank you to WWIA for doing this for me!! I have never been on a trip like this and now I am hooked I am going to try to get my friends back at home to go on a fishing trip with me at least one time a year. I also want to say another special thank you to all the captains and there friends that volunteered there time and boats to take us out on the lake and helping us catch some fish they are a good bunch of guys and fun to be around.
Kyle J. Sill
Hey John i just wanted to thank you for having me at this past fishing event on lake erie. This was the first time i was actually able to relax and forget about alot of crap that has been on my mind ever since i got out the Marine Corps. All the captains that showed up were really good dudes. Tim Spence and Mark Broda are about the best guys i have met outside the military. Im glad to be part of a brotherhood again were guys like you and every body else actually look out for one another and care. Thanks again for an amazing time.
This has been a super awesome week. I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing organization.
It has been a real blessing to take part in such a special event. My heart and prayers go to all in this organization. I hope and pray we can make this an annual event and lookijg forward to the next one. All of the guys have really touched my life in a special way.
God Bless you all!
My name is A.J. Carter, known by some as "Ashau Al". I was an early Vietnam participant with Ashay Valley (Hamburger Hill-AP BIA). The movie as a reference, I was long gone from Ashau when the incident, the movie, took place. What I rember of Ashau is burned in my memory. A team member Bill Patience, 13th SF killed in Nam died in Ashau, my 1st loss, in that most "unnecessary of wars!" Gen. Westmorland nearly killed his 9th day in country, 1964. And the special force community heroes, Col. (retired) Roger Donolon-MOH!
Ashau was my baptism, 1st Purple Heart. Near to date, one year later, Tay Ninh Camp Ben Sol, I learned about Hell.
Donating the calls to the Wounded Warriors in action has been the highlight of my callmaking career. What began as a hobby has become a passion to make the best sounding and best looking call I can. It was an honor to have my calls in the hands of the soldiers.
Thank you to the program and to the soldiers that protect our freedom.
This week's turkey hunt down here in Madison county FL, has been nothing but a great experience for me. The guys putting together and hosting this hunt are a great group of guys. Even though I never knew these guys before the weekend started. Little did I know, I forged a band with these guys when we stepped on the battlefield. A band your not going to find anywhere else. I've never been turkey hunting in my life and to see the outpour of support, for a guy from Texas was deeply felt and greatly appreciated. I couldn't wish for a better weekend of turkey hunting. One thing I can wish for is another weekend of turkey hunting with these guys. I told everyone here, just because I didn't take home a turkey, doesn't mean I'm not going to take home great memories and a great friendships. Till next time, to good hunting and to good friends.
This weekend has been one of the best experiences of my life. I really enjoyed spending time with Matt and David. I hope the time spent here with us and all the memories made will benefit them as much as it has me. I would like to thank Brent and John for letting me be a part of the hunt. I'll be looking forward to the next hunt.
What can ya' say? This was one of the best experiences I have had. John, Matthew and Dave L. from the WWIA were the best. The support I received from David Floyd, Kitt, and Frank Storey as guides was amazing. This is going to be a hard hunting trip to top, but we're going to try next year. Thanks for letting me do this.
I was wounded severely on 3rd tour June 18 Iraq. I came on a WWIA hunt March 23, 2012 and had one of the greatest times of my life hunting in Madison County, Florida. The hosts were the greatest people I met. I saw lots of game, and let mine walk to live another day. But was one of my greatest hunts ever, Semper Fi to WWIA and the guys of Madison County. Thanks John. Hope to hunt again. Had a blast. It means a lot to not be forgotten for our service and recovery.
Thank you WWIA
Thank you, John, for coming up to Michigan and for everything you do for us combat wounded. I consider the time I spent duck hunting in North Carolina as one of the best times of my life. It really did make a difference to me and helped me in reconnecting with the civilian world.
I look forward to working with you in the near future in hopes that I may be able to share the great experience with other combat wounded veterans.
Again, thank you.
When Doug originally told me I was going to be giving an award to Lt. Col. John McDaniel I thought it would be a good idea to do some research on him and his organization. When doing my research I am ashamed to say my first thoughts were…..”why am I giving this award to this man” ………”what has this man done to earn this award when there are so many wounded veterans that are more deserving” ? But I continued to do my research and dig deeper to uncover why this award was being presented and what this man could of done to deserve this recognition. I had just come to the point that I was going to call Doug and tell him that we had made a terrible mistake and that there was no way I was going to give this man an award that he had not earned when I just happened to hit his testimonial page on his website. This page has changed how I will see our veteran forever. This page has changed how I see our Freedom…forever and this page gave me new appreciation for everything that our veterans have done for this county, for me and for my children.
On this page, I read letter after letter after letter from soldiers calling Lt. Col. McDaniel, brother, friend, family and hero. On this page I read story after story about how his hunts had helped these veterans build life lasting relationships. On this page, I read how veterans who have been down, not able to be in public, alone, feel like they belonged and that people truly cared about them. On this page, I read a letter from a retired SSgt Gary “Cooter” Horn that ended in this quote “For those whom have fought for it…Freedom has a taste the protected will never know” anonymous. At this spot, my eyes opened and forever my thought and feelings have changed towards all veterans. How dare I question the validity of giving this award to a man that has been called to service for this country. How dare I question the validity of giving this award to a man that is called brother, friend, family and hero by those who are called hero themselves. How dare I demand that any solider who has fought for this country prove their pain and worth by the physical scars they bring home. “For those whom have fought for it…Freedom has a taste the protected will never know” anonymous.
I want you to know that I would have been proud, honored and humbled to give this Purple Heart Plaque to Lt. Col. McDaniel. Thank you for what you have done and for you continue to do for our country, our soldiers and our children!
Financial Center Manager
Thank you so much for inviting me out. I had a grisly great time and look forward to going on more hunts in the future. It was great meeting you and the other guys.
I've been looking for a duck shotgun since I got home. Thank you for introducing me to a sport I am sure I will love for the rest of my life.
US MC CPL
Great program. Hope the guys enjoyed the fishing.
Captain Harvey Yenkinson
Sir, I first want to say thank you for allowing me to come on this trip with LTC Molbert under my circumstances! As you can see on my tattoo “War is a Drug.” There is no better drug or healing process than what you do. I had a blast and this will definitely be a memory that I will never forget.
To “Ranger” John-
Thanks for a great trip. You are the real deal hero for everything you do for our nation’s wounded warriors. I really appreciated our fishing trip together and I look forward to coordinating the first of many alligator hunts down in Louisiana.
Had a great day on the water with you fellows. It was an honor and pleasure to fish with serviceman of our country. Thanks a lot for the experience of our conversations. Hope you all wellness and thanks for your service.
Vetcraft Sportfishing, 1st Mate
First I would like to thank you for all you do. You are a hero and I’m proud to say that you and everyone I’ve met in the past few days are my family and friends and I will say this was one of the best times I have ever had. Being this was the first time on a Gator hunt, everyone made me feel like I was part of a family in FL. I don’t fit in much but this trip lets me know that there is a lot of family out there and I’m glad I got to do this
I was thinking a lot about all of the experiences and all of the great people that I had a chance to meet over these last couple of days. Everything was great. This was a trip I will never forget. It’s hard to find great Americans that support the troops like all of the people I met this weekend. It was a great reminder that people do care and they do support us. Once again thank you for this opportunity to come on this trip. Thank you.
Can’t say enough about what you do for us. This has been a lifetime dream. You’re the hero in my eyes. It, “the trip,” was more than I expected and I loved it all. I am most thankful for the new friends we have connected with.
“For those whom have fought for it, Freedom has a taste the protected will never know.” Unknown
If I have not thanked you enough yet, then I want to say it again & again, Thank You! Things have been overwhelming lately in my life and you gave me the great opportunity to get away from it all for at least a few days. The hunt itself was awesome and, although it was not exactly your doing, thanks for the MONSTER GATOR! It was great meeting such kind and caring people that were very hospitable and showed it through the great receptions at dinner and the Airboat Association house. The whole trip was great and I could not have asked for more. I hope to stay in contact with you over the years and share resources to help more veterans.
CPT Greg Amira Retired
I felt honored and privileged to be a part of this “great” event that was held for “great” people. It was a “great” experience for me and wouldn’t trade it for anything. My hat goes off to you for organizing and creating a “great” organization. I know I’ve been repetitive using the word “great” But that’s what describes this trip!
This has been a wonderful experience. I had an awesome time from start to finish. It took me 3 years to make it to an event and I couldn’t have picked a better one to attend. It wasn’t about the harvest. It was the fellowship with fellow Brothers and the experience we had. I look forward to attending another event in the future and working along with you and help editing some of the footage from previous as well as upcoming events. Take care and keep up the good work.
I can’t thank you enough for such an incredible trip hunting pheasants and chakar here in New York. It couldn’t have come at a better time as I have been down for a while. I haven’t felt this good since I was injured. This has been a life-changing event to say the least. Thanks for what you have done for me, my marines, and fellow wounded warriors. You are truly your brothers’ keeper! You have given me espirt de corps I haven’t felt in too long.
GYSGT USMC Ret
Thank you and your foundation WWIA for allowing me to participate in the Upland Bird Hunt in NY. It was a new experience for me and I learned a lot. It was great to get out of the house, to enjoy a world class hunt, meet new friends, and bond with fellow brothers up understand all. Very special thanks especially to JR, Charlie, Carol, and all the folks that participated, supported and insured we had a great time. It was an honor and a privilege.
MSG USA (Ret)
Thank you for starting such an awesome foundation that helps heal veterans. It was such an honor to come out to NY during 9-11 and remember what I joined our armed forces for. Hunting birds and meeting other wounded warriors whom will become good friends. Our hosts were nothing less than great. This will be a memory that will not be forgotten. God bless you and all the people with WWIA and always remember that you are all doing great things for Wounded Warriors.
“Rangers Lead the Way”
John, you’re one upstanding American!
I would like to thank you for inviting me to “Hotlanta.” I had an amazing time racing cars, shooting guns, and playing on Lake Lanier. The best part of the trip was the opportunity to make new outstanding friends. More nonprofits need to follow WWIA’s model when taking care of soldiers!!
Thank you very much!!
P.S. I’m ready for the next adventure!
Sgt Gary Boggs
US Army (Ret)
Many thanks for the opportunity to attend the Hotlanta trip. I truly appreciate what you do for wounded warriors. I met some great new people and had a once in a lifetime experience listening to their stories, racing cars, shooting all kinds of automatic weapons, and playing on Lake Lanier riding jet skis. I look forward to promoting the great things your organization WWIA does to help wounded warriors network, share their stories and promote healing from the traumas of war. I would be happy to help promote your foundation to other wounded warriors I meet so that they can enjoy this amazing opportunity. I also look forward to the next one in hopes that I may help out if and when you need me.
USA MSG (Ret)
I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate being part of this event. I had a great time, and I truly believe in the service you are doing for veterans like me. Let me know if there is any way I can assist.
I have been truly honored to be part of the first annual WWIA summer musky classic… Ranger John and Ranger Tom planted the seed of service on the river four seasons ago now in Musky Country and in the time that has passed all of us in the guide game here have been educated and truly touched by our Heroes!
A bunch of tough river guides have learned that we have something pretty cool here and that by sharing our backyards and our love and passion for the water and the fish we can and do make a difference to those who have given so much to this country and to us specifically! Thank you John and all of the WWIA members of associates for giving us the opportunity to serve you back.
Tally ho and God speed.
Never imagined an opportunity like this. It takes a special group of people to bring together wounded warriors from all across the U.S. and in two days create lifelong friends. Between the WWIA and Musky Country Outfitters, they reminded me of why we (warriors) do what we do. Nothing heals the mind and body like enjoying outdoor sports.
Thank you for accepting my friend Robin like one of us.
Thank you so very much.
“Brotherhood” is the foundation of this program. This was probably the best 4 days spent with old friends and got the chance to make new friends. I got to pick up a new hobby. I’m by no means a nature guy or fisherman, but truly enjoyed my time here. The program is great to heal the mental and spiritual wounds that some are still dealing with. I am happy and proud to have attended this event with “true” heroes! I will never forget the past 48 hours spent with a true professional and master at his job, Tim Fischer. He made the experience an awesome one. I can and will consider him a friend. Again, great events, new friends, and no words can describe. WWIA 2011 Muskie Hunt ATW!
I can’t really express how great the opportunity to come on this fishing trip was. Coming from down in Houston, TX, up to the North woods of Wisconsin to fish for Musky is the fishing trip of a lifetime. I have always wanted to fish for Northern pike and musky. Thank to Mr. McDaniel and WWIA this is a dream come true. I hope I can get the chance to volunteer for more events and share experiences like this with other wounded veterans. Thank you WWIA for this opportunity of a lifetime.
This was my first experience with the WWIA crew and I can certainly say that it will not be my last. Meeting these HEROES and watching firsthand as the group dynamic developed was truly amazing. We are all forever indebted to these men for their sacrifice in preserving our way of life and, although I will never be able to comprehend what they’ve been through, sharing our world with them and seeing how much they enjoyed their time here has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I sincerely hope that we can continue to grow our relationship with the WWIA so that we can share this experience with as many of our heroes as possible.
Until next time!
I just want to start by saying thank you so much for everything all of you do for all of us. You guys are responsible for all of us being able to do what we do every day. I can’t wait to stew all year about next year’s fly design and hopefully they’ll mean as much to you as you guys coming out means to me. All of you guys need to come back and see us again soon. Can’t wait until next year! Safe travels.
John, Amanda, Jill & all you great Associates—Thank you!
I am truly honored to be the first outsider and Vietnam Era Purple Heart recipient to participate in the Wounded Warrior in Action project. The instant friendship with John, “Mr. Raconteur Extraordinaire” is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. The opportunity to share this experience with the OIF/OEF Purple Heart recipients was an amazing and humbling experience.
Thank you from the bottom of my Purple Heart!
John E. Bircher III
Col, USA (Ret)
WWIA Musky Country
Fishing with the WWIA is the highlight of my guiding season. Hands down. 2011 is my second year being involved and each time I am sad to see you guys leave. Each warrior I have fished with quickly becomes a close friend. You guys are the salt of the Earth. Slow fishing and poor weather outside, good times flow freely. I will never forget the 2011 WWIA event.
I would first like to thank Mr. John McDaniel and WWIA for allowing me to be part of such a wonderful event not to mention a “Brotherhood.” After 22 years serving this great country I have been honored to meet new fellow wounded warriors and build not just new friendships, but an extended family that is built on honor, courage and heroes!!! The time spent in the stands with you, Don, and Steve filming our Hog Hunt made it even more fun, and not to mention allows that one special hero bragging rights for the trip. Thank you WWIA for bringing me back to where I needed to be in my life continually to learn and grown as I heal. This has truly been an awesome healing experience!!
Scott A Adams
SFC U.S. Army
This was my first hunt that I was the lead associate. I feel that the hunt went very well. Every one of the guys had a great time. I had an unbelievable hunt!!! The experience and new friends I made own my trip will be long lasting. I am so happy that the hunt went as well as it did. It means so much to me to help other wounded purple heard awardees. Thank you, John, for having the confidence in me to be able to have the experience to take the lead on this hunt.
However, I had made some minor mistakes during this hunt. I will ensure to make a check list for items needed for the hunt. I will check and double check on every little detail that could come up. But overall, the hunt met the standard that every soldier enjoyed the hunt and would like to do it again.
Once again, John, thank you for giving me the lead on this hunt. I am looking forward to trying to get another soldier hunt together.
Emil A. Walsh
My sincere thanks to John McDaniel and the entire organization for a class A hunt- the hospitality and kindness from all was an absolute honor. This was my first interaction with any wounded warrior experience. I was injured 15 years ago and am so appreciative of the opportunity to be able to hang out with and share stories and comradery with fellow patriots. I did get a nice hog on this my very first hog hunt! Again thank you to WWIA for everything provided and the opportunity to meet with other wounded warriors.
First I want to say thank you for inviting me to this event. I have 23 years in the army and I have seen a lot over the years. So when I linked up with the WWIA I didn’t know what to expect. After the first 10 minutes I knew I belonged here. Just to be around other soldiers who have shared the same experiences, what a feeling. Everyone here was awesome. Some of the best times were us just sitting around and talking. I can’t wait to help others the way you have helped me. John, I want to thank you again and God bless.
SFC U.S. Army
WWIA Abnaki Outdoors Turkey Hunt
It was a pleasure and honor to have had the chance to meet you, Jake and Brad. The team at Abnaki wanted to put together this turkey hunt for the WWIA Foundation to say “thanks” for what you all have done protecting our country’s freedom. I know personally that I have made three new friends for life and look forward to meeting more warriors and sharing more hunts afield with you.
Stu Burde and Christy Burde
Abnaki Outoors Team
Back at Chuck’s lodge after smoking my first jake turkey- 3 toms under my belt- 1st jake!! The thrill, anticipation, and excitement are still very alive. The dawn brought the vocal and echoing HOOTS and Shrills of owls in the draw near a wadi, crows’ cackles and flight created the action. Steve and I were very excited and laughed until silver glistened 5 times cross the Wadi- 2 toms and 3 jakes, serious business had started. Calm and instructive whispers from Steve directed me, but I had already gone through 4 dry runs with my browning 12 gauge- I was ready! The toms were too educated and wise to commit to the dekes and calls, but the youngest 2 were curious. At 27-28 yards a 3 ½ #3 steel waterfowl load (the “lucky” round that had been in my coat pocket for nearly 10 years) erupted and boomed within the draw, echoing and silencing Mother Nature’s bounty… My life was granted and I’m living moments like God provides me each day the above was just one of the best that I pray will be one of many.
Jayson Johnson was born March 7, 1985 in L.A. California. I was in war all my live with gangs. I’ve seen women get beat, men get shot, and kids die over a color. So getting in the Army and going to war was the safe thing to do. On August 30, 2008 Jayson Johnson was reborn in Barstow California the day my son Jeremy Johnson was born. To hold my son for the first time is something I will never forget. And on April 17, 2011 my hope for mankind was reborn, thanks to John who showed me that good people live in this world.
Today was absolutely my honor to be in the boat today with you and Jason. He and you are what this great country of ours should be all about. Thanks so much for your service. I will pray for you both always.
Lake Tour Guide Service
I just would like to say thank you for giving your heart to the men and women who have given themselves for the American people!!
Rosanna Marie Schneidle
Alaska to Illinois, how could we have planned it? C co 1/501 ABN always and forever!
American Legion Post 1977
What a trip!! 68 Bass were caught between us with even more that got away. I even caught the 3rd largest bass I have EVER caught before. What a trip!! It is people such as you who give us veterans a good name. Your dedication to the WWIA is amazing. To start something like this is not only remarkable, but inspiring as well. It shows what kind of Soldier you are, and what you are about. I have met many people who talk a good game about helping others but very few who actually follow through. Thank you for the great experience you have left for me to remember for a long time. But thank you again and even more for not only being here for us but caring enough to help at all. I have always been a great judge of character and I know that every soldier, in or ex that crosses your path will be the better for it!!
Keep up the great times
My hunting experience at Camp Hackett was gratifying and better than expected. The deer hunt reminded me of the type of hunts I use to go on as a young man. In other words it was a tough hunt and definately not for the first time hunter as the founder John McDaniel explained to me over the phone when I received his long awaited call. John gave me several choices of easier hunts where harvesting a deer was fairly simple but when John gave a description of Camp Hackett in the Northern region of Wisconsin where there was an opportunity to bow hunt a trophy buck of a lifetime, when I heard this all I said was "Hackett" that's where I want to go. There were no bait piles or feeders on the property to attract the deer right to your treestand. There were a few food plots on the property but I didn't choose to hunt over one. On this hunt I had seen only 6 does and 1 8pt buck . The buck was too small though and didn't meet the criteria of a trophy so he lives for another year for another Hero to possibly shoot. John and his guides Jake and Matt who are combat wounded vets did a great job and made every effort to make this a successful hunt for me. I can't describe this hunt in one word but I will say the guys are very professional, accomodating and sincere. I think I left Camp Hackett a different person than how I arrived and as a combat wounded soldier this type of experience can only help with my recovery. Thank you John for your integrity, honesty and commoradory, you have always taken care of soldiers as an officer and it is obvious that you will continue this mission until it's complete.
Ret. Sgt Ken Katter
Dear Mr. McDaniel,
On behalf of everyone involved with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Charitable Service Trust, let me thank you for WWIA’s work with the combat wounded, Purple Heart Veterans.
You have taken a great step in providing new and unique rehabilitation opportunities to veterans with a range of profound disabilities. You’re holding out the prospect of a new life for veterans. You’re sharing the excitement of new therapeutic approaches to veterans who have suffered amputations and other physical disabilities. And you’re making sure disabled veterans learn life can get better.
Best wishes to all.
Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Charitable Service Trust
Texas Hog Hunt:
I would first like to thank Mr. John McDaniel and the WWIA for allowing me to be part of such a wonderful event, not to mention a "brotherhood." After 22 years serving this great country I have been honored to meet fellow Wouned Warriors & build not just new friendships, but an extended family that is built on honor, courage, and heroes!! The time spent in the stands with you, Don and Steve filming our hog hunt made it even more fun, not to mention allowing that one special hero bragging rights for the trip. Thank you, WWIA, for bringing me back to where I needed to be in my life; continuing to learn and grow as I heal. This has truely been an awesome healing experience!! Thank you. God Bless.
Scott A. Adams
SFC US Army
WWIA Texas Hog Hunt
First I want to say thank you for inviting me to this event. I have 23 years in the Army and I have seen a lot over the years. So when I linked up with the WWIA I didn't know what to expect. After the first 10 minutes I knew I belonged here. Just to be around other soldiers who have shared the same experience; what a feeling. Everyone here was awesome. Some of the best times were us just sitting around and talking. I can't wait to help others the way you have helped me. John, I want to thank you again and God Bless.
SFC US Army
WWIA Texas Hog Hunt
My sincere thanks to John McDaniel and the entire organization for a Class A hunt - the hospitality and kindness from all was an absolute honor. This was my first interaction with any Wounded Warrior experience - I was injured 15 years ago and am so appreciative of the opportunity to be able to hang out with and share stories and camaraderie with fellow patriots. I did get a nice hog on this, my very first hog hunt! Agan thank you to WWIA for everything provided and the opportunity to meet the other Wounded Warriors.
WWIA Texas Hog Hunt.
This was my first hunt that I was the lead associate. I feel that the hunt went very well. Every one of the guys had a great time. I had an unbelievable hunt!!! The experience and new friends I made on my trip will be long lasting. I am so happy that the hunt went as well as it did. It means so much to me to help other wounded Purple Heart awardees. Thank you, John, for having the confidence in me to be able to take the lead on this hunt.
The hunt met the standard that every soldier enjoyed thet hunt and would like to do it again Once again, John, thank you for giving me the lead on this hunt. I am looking forward to trying to get another soldier hunt together. Thanks again, Johh, for another great hunt!!!
John it was a pleasure and honor to had have the chance to meet you, Jake & Brad. The team at Abnaki wanted to put together this turkey hunt for the WWIA Foundation to say "Thanks" for what you all have done protecting our country's freedom. I know personally that I have made 3 new friends for life and look forward to meeting more warriors and sharing more hunts afield with you. Thanks again.
Steve & Christy Burch
First time I saw John in many years and hunted on his beautiful land. I went into the woods, October 25, with John's dog Grizzly and this land was unbelievably beautiful. This was the first time in my life I had the opportunity to hunt Ruffed Grouse, and I shot one near the beaver pond. After I shot him, he folded into the pond and was honored to watch Grizzly retrieve the bird. I bow hunted from "The Ranger Stand" and spent most of the weekend hunting from the "Foggy Bottom" food plot. Saturday night, October 27, 2007, I experienced a lifetime sight! I had been waiting for some time and it was about 17:15 when I happened to look over at the food plot and saw the largest Deer I have ever seen in my life. He had a thick body and plenty of horn; he traveled from left to right than stopped. The massive buck then executed a right face and walked right towards me, without any notice, they stopped briefly at the food plot and then continued to come towards me. The buck had a very thick rack but not a wide one and appeared to be an older deer. He was walking hard like he owned the place; came by the stand at 20 yards then back into the woods behind me about 40 yards. I was shaking and put my arrow up for my bow and it was hard to keep still. I then watched the deer scrap hard against the ground with his rack. He then moved towards a tree, not far from me, I could barely believe he was this close! I was able to sense all these feelings, I could hear him and see him so close up. This was an incredible and unforgettable experience and I am forever grateful to John for his friendship and allowing me to share this experience. Thank you my friend and keep your nose in the wind, your eyes across the sky line!
Colonel US Army
Today we end our four days and five nights at camp Hackett. John and Kellie were perfect hosts. The weather and the birds have been awesome. We flushed 61 grouse, taking 6 and we also flushed 47 woodcock, taking 12. 108 flushes in 4 days! It doesn't get any better! John's program of offering hunts to wounded warriors is an outstanding effort toward a much needed goal of treating our veterans with the honor and respect that they deserve! Thank you John and Kellie!
Leonard and Diana Breure
SFC U.S Army retired
This is my last evening here at camp Hackett. I arrived here on the 21st of October and have had an absolute blast this entire week. The beginning of the week was very productive with a consistent amount of deer to hunt. And now at the end of the week, things have slowed down, perhaps due to the return of the wolves which put a chill in me, this evening, with their howling. Earlier today we put some skirting on the bottom of the rig and have gotten done many little projects around the camp. I just want to thank Kellie and John for all this, I am much honored to be here and part of such an awesome cause. Keep up the good work.
Corporal, US Army
Had a great time up in the sticks with John and Tim, seen a ton of deer while I was here. I cannot even begin to tell anyone the calming affect of this visit. I was able to fish, hunt for birds, as well as deer. We all cooked together and as more people hunted, there were a variety of foods to eat. Whoever can come up here, will quickly realize how relaxing this experience can be.
SFC US Army
This evening I was hunting in Foggy Bottom, as I was sitting there I saw a rooster pheasant about 60 yards away from me drinking from a puddle of water. Shortly after that, I saw a large timber wolf, he was very dark and kept his nose low to the ground. He moved very fast and this was the first time I have ever seen this type of a dominant creature in the wild. This was one of the many wonderful experiences here at camp Hackett.
SPC US Army (Retired)
No more deer season, today is the last day and we (John and I) didn't go out, mainly due to the fact that we hunted straight for 4 days/nights. We didn't see any deer but we did see a buck, while Kellie, myself and John were coming in for the evening, we saw the buck by the food plot about 25 yards from where we were. I'm pretty sure I saw antlers and this was a very special event for the McDaniel brothers to be together for a rifle season hunt (this is where it all began). I thoroughly enjoyed myself. John and I went out with the dogs (Grizzly and Diamond) to do some grouse hunting on the back 40. John recognized at how enthusiastic I was about his 20 gauge and so he let me use it and I was incredibly honored. What an amazing piece! On this fine outing John and I both rousted several grouse and with no excuses, we both missed a few - than five minutes later we jumped a couple more. I think I have discovered a new love! The greatest moment of our first of many grouse hunts was, not just the entire event but just as I was enjoying this moment, out of the snow pops out a rabbit and without any hesitation I took the shot. The first thing I heard, "did you get him?" I responded with a definite "yep". Diamond is only 8 months and this was her first time out, she was pretty clueless, so John told Grizzly to "fetch up" which he did. Needless to say we had rabbit for dinner! John made this trip special as he always does. He makes some pretty awesome dishes and topped himself with the rabbit stew! I am without a doubt very proud to be a part of John's events/excursion. I can tell that he is working hard to get things right. I hope to see him again soon, as well as do some more fishing and hunting. The wounded warriors of our country should be very grateful to have such a phenomenal man, my brother, to be able to look after them. This cause is mighty, this cause is noble and this cause is the way.
(P.S thanks for everything John, hope to see you in this summer).
Well, we finished our two and half days of fishing down in Sugarloaf Keys. What a great and wonderful time. I hooked up my first tarpon on this trip, even though I did not land him. Although, we loaded up on snapper and mackerel and we had some fresh fish for dinner that evening. John hooked a beautiful snook which I hadn't seen before, in person. I also caught some barracuda other varieties of fish. I was the first person, aside John, to throw a cast net off the boat to catch bait fish. One of the best experiences was to hook a 6-7 foot lemon shark that weighed about 115 lbs. I had to work at him for about an hour and 10 minutes, this experience was great! John is a great person with lot of knowledge. I learned a ton about flats fishing, which I always wanted to learn about, but never had the opportunity to do so until now. I am going to do everything I can to help John get more people involved and get more vets like myself, who gave so much to this great nation a chance to let go. A chance to get away from the world and something new and something they love. Thank you so much John for everything you done and for sharing all your knowledge. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to come down here and do something I always wanted to. P.S see you in November up at Camp Hackett.
Corporal, USMC (Retired)
These last few days have been really nice here in the Keys with John, catching a lot of different types of fish. It is great to get away from everything and having time to myself. The thing I liked most of all is having someone that I can talk to and being able to relate about the same issues. John and his foundation (WWIA) has been by far the nicest thing that has happened to me and my family. No one has done this for me since I came home. It was a privilege and an honor to be here. I hope other Purple Heart recipients can learn about this foundation. I hope that this foundation grows and helps others the way it did me.
Corporal (Retired), USMC
Looking forward to seeing you again and to be able to go hunting with you. Id like to be able to do more things like that more often. You and your organization have made an immensely positive impact on me as well as raise my moral and spirits. Hunting is something I've always wanted to do and fishing is something Ive always wanted to do more often. It feels so much better to be able to do such things as par of such a great cause. I definitely want to be a big part of your organization and help you spread your cause for other wounded warriors. Thank you for the opportunities you have provided for me as well as other service members. I'm thankful for the day Art introduced me to you.
Staff Sergeant (Retired), US Army
First of all I would like to say thanks to LTC John McDaniel and the WWIA. I had such a great time throughout the whole weekend. Upon arriving in Jacksonville, FL, LTC McDaniel picked us up in his truck and we went to a hotel to get some rest for the next day. After waking up we loaded the truck and headed to Gainesville. Me and the other wounded soldiers immediately became good friends and by the time we arrived in Gainesville, I felt like we were all old friends and had know each other for years. Arriving in Gainesville we were immediately greeted by some people from the community and they had already been preparing for a nice cookout for us. The food was great, especially the gator tail with buffalo sauce. After eating, a couple of members from the local airboat club took us out on their hand-crafted machines. The ride was great but letting take the wheel was even better and something I will never forget! The gator hunt kicked off right at sunset and we immediately started seeing their glowing eyes through our spotlights. Derek and I started taking turns with the spear, chucking and holding the light. Derek got his first and after about an hour of hunting I had my chance. We went for about an hour without seeing anything and then all of a sudden after rounding a corner the lake came alive and we found ourselves surrounded by glowing eyes. So we chose one set and headed for it. He was a little smaller and we didn't hit him but after the throw we saw another one just ahead. So I re-geared and let it fly. I stuck it and the fight was on. He didn't like it one bit. We got it in the boat and I finished him with my knife. This trip was such a great time and I am very thankful for the friends I was so fortunate to meet while I was there. So once again, thanks to LTC McDaniel and the WWIA for the great time.
SGT US Army (Retired)
When I first met John he grabbed us off the plane in Jacksonville and we got a hotel. John was easy to talk to and very enjoyable to be around. I met the other wounded guys and we immediately became brothers. The next day we drove to Lake Lochloosa to meet the local airboat club. Before this event I had never been on an airboat. The club had speed airboats on the water along with many others. After having lunch we rode on the airboats. Our driver took us in the marshes for a tour. When we were able to drive the airboat, which blew my world! To be in control was amazing. When we came back we talked to the club members and the southern hospitality was something I've never experienced before. When I met my guides for the gator hunt they had high hopes and so did I. I used a bow to take a gator. I tried all night to take a gator over 5 feet. That was my limit. After failures all night I shot my first gator which was 6 feet long. When I used the bang stick to finish off the gator it went all over my face. I had a grin ear to ear. The whole trip was truly amazing and I would have never hunted a gator if with wasn't for the WWIA. John is an amazing person and the things he is doing for the wounded cannot fully be put into words. Thank you John and the WWIA, United Sportsmen Airboat Alliance, Lunelle, Tommy and Tommy Jr. and Duane!
As a Wounded Warrior, the opportunity to connect with great Americans like John and 2 fellow Wounded Warriors was an experience of a lifetime. I made at least 5 great friends last weekend and the experience truly was healing. I am proud to be an Army Wounded Warrior and it brings great happiness to my heart that people like John, Duane (one of our guides and a supporter of the WWIA) and emloyers like Raytheon give Wounded Warriors a chance to connect and transition to the civilian world.
COL Art Kandarian (whom this email was forwarded from) was my squadron commander on my last tour in Iraq when I was severely wounded. This is the bond that perpetuates from war-time service- he still looks out for his wounded heroes to this day - I am proud to call Art and John my friends and they are two great American Heros.
Sergeant First Class (Retired)
This is my final morning at Camp Hackett. The time I spent here learning to hunt and fish has been amazing. Jake has been like a good ol' buddy from way back, as if he served on my left or my right in combat. The whole experience has been a blessing to me; to be able to experience the north woods and take the most important things back "knowledge and friendship" even though I didn't harvest a deer of any sort. I have been truly honored to be part of this organization and I am forever grateful to it and the great Americans that make it possible. Thank you John, Jake, Steve, Zack and the whole Beadle family and the rest of this community of patriots.
SGT (Retired), US Army
John, thank you for allowing us to experience and share so many memories with you and your group. It has been a wonderful experience to share our time and stories with your guys. I have never met a group of people with such an amazing outlook on life. It has been an honor to be with these heroes. You are an inspiration to all of us. Good luck and best wishes to all of you and your future endeavors.
What an experience we've had. The past three days have been some of the most memorable times here at the farm in the 10+ years I've been here. Can't say enough about everyone!!! We have just made our family that much bigger. If I had to describe the past 3 days its easy, one word - INSPIRING!
I just recently started working at Hudson Farm full time. I am so glad that I was here to experience the visit from you and your wounded warriors. I feel so privileged to have met such wonderful, strong, caring people. Its not every day you meet people that were put through such challenging events and find that they came out of it with still such an amazing outlook on life. Cooney, Cesar, Mark and Victor all showed me what life is really all about. By meeting these people it showed me to really appreciate life and all God has blessed us with. Thank you for serving us and our country and thank you for making me want to be a better person. I will never forget you or your time at Hudson Farm. I hope you all come back again and we will make you all the portable breakfast sandwiches you want! Take care and God bless you.
A chance email and your quick response revealed your spirit and honor. As I have gotten to know you, your strength of character has also come into play. It gives me hope that there are folks like you and your wife who care about the special people who serve and are injured while serving. Our deer hunt at Hudson Farm cemented our friendship and widened our circle. God bless you for serving those who served and protected us. May your dreams become reality and I hope to play a small part.
I am writing to convey my gratitude and appreciation to you and WWIA for the wonderful duck hunting experience in CA, this past Dec. 18-20. I must also thank the many people whom I never met, but know contributed so much to our success.
John, I can't convey in any amount of words what the trip to CA did for me; both mentally and physically. The opportunity for a boy from western KY to pursue his life-long passion of waterfowl hunting in CA was only a story in Field & Stream; never did I think I would be "that guy"!
When you called, 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.
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 KY. 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 Dr.'s office will ever do.
Thank you, John, and WWIA! May you call on me to help your organization in any capacity!
Bradford L. Alexander
SSG (R), USA
Worn out Wounded Warriors in Action! "This trip, right here, will put the string in your watch pocket"! Now, that's funny right there! But seriously though some of the absolute best times in my life were right here in just one weekend. Am I tired, hell yeah, would do it again in a New York minute. The Wounded Warriors in Action have humbled me, and showed me once again that I can be proud of what I have done, and also help us to realize that we just did our part, our part in a long line of parts. Thank you Bro.
And all who came before us !
"small kill team sniper"
Daniel R. Smith
SGT (Ret) 12B
John, can't thank you and the WWIAF enough for such a great weekend in Wisconsin. The wildlife and fishing was just amazing. You have inspired me to want to do the same for my fellow veterans. Rangers really do lead the way. This experience has really left a positive outlook on my life.
"Ready and forward"
Thank you for what you do. It was a blessing and honor to meet these men. I also know this is something my children will have with them always and will be life changing.
Thank you for all that you do in the marvelous Wounded Warriors in Action program. You do so much for these wonderful men who protect us in the U.S.A. I needed to see this and be part of this as much as anyone. More needs to be done for our service men so they know we care. Tim and Wally were the best – God bless them. God bless you, John and those who work with you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart
First & foremost, this trip is the best time I've had in a long time. Ever since my injury, I just find myself withdrawn from people & the things I do. This trip gave me the chance to get out & meet some amazing people. This trip is the most fun I have had in –literally years. I've never been bird hunting and this was by far, the coolest thing I've done in years, since the day I got hurt in Iraq back in 2005. Another great thing about this adventure were the amazing people. Everyone from the WWIA founder, John, the guide-Jim to the farm owner & the wives and families. These people made us wounded warriors feel as if we were members of their own families. John, thanks for setting this up and getting me away from D.C., my job & my boring life. Again this trip was so relaxing and made me feel again. This trip also let me see that people remember the wounded and really care about us. I would love to do this again. John, thanks for this trip & letting me relax.
The burden on my heart is a lot lighter, the scars on my soul less deep. Having had to endure the disgraceful attitude of the American public toward veterans returning home from the Vietnam conflict, I finally have been able to hold my head higher. I will not allow what happened to me to happen to my fellow servicemen.
I am honored to be allowed to donate time and attention to the Wounded Warriors in Action upland bird hunt. I had a fantastic experience training coaching and hunting with Wally Bishop and Tim Juliano. I watched Tim shoot his first pheasant (!) and Wally blast chukers with gusto and satisfaction. It just doesn't get any better. They are friends forever.
The most wonderful experience was working with John to put this hunt together and the satisfaction we shared in watching the men interact and heal a little more. John has created an organization that is remarkable in its dedication to helping Purple Heart awardees. John, you are my HERO.
With love brother,
Thank you very much for a great weekend & I look forward to a great friendship between the two of us and hope we do more events. I really enjoyed this one and hope I can help out on upcoming events if you need any help. You can always call me and I will be there for you and the WWIA. Call me anytime or email me.
Thanks again for a great time
I must say that this experience will be etched within my life forever. The tremendous people that you meet while engaging this activity is the kind of people that you want to surround yourself around, because they are brothers in arms. I got excited about the gator trip the first time I heard about it. Hands down this is a world class act and I am sure that it took so much time to prepare that I will never be able to get the right words out that mean how I feel about the hard working people that do the stuff without receiving thanks so John and every other Warrior God Bless and Godspeed.
The day I heard about the WWIA gave me goose bumps. To find an organization like this one, who puts the Wounded Warriors before trying to use them as a news headline for their own personal needs. After getting my name to John, is when I found out exactly what this organization is about. Through many emails, I figured out exactly how much love and passion John had in his heart for Wounded Warriors. Without his dedication, drive and help of his wife, with people like Duane, wounded warriors dreams would not come true like this. I never thought in my wildest dreams after that day, I would ever hunt again, let alone hunt for Alligators. But people like John and Duane made it possible by getting a cross bow for me to hunt with. This is another example of how this organization has yet the bar from any other organization I have ever seen. I am the first Warrior who has had the honor of hunting Alligators with a crossbow. I hope the crossbow provides a great harvest for the next Warrior as it provided me. I was able to take 2 nice gators over 4' with this crossbow. I believe that it is because of the hard work of John and Duane that God has allowed me to take those two creatures.
The gator hunt has been the best hunt that I have ever been a part of to date. I know people who will go their entire lives and never get to experience what I did in the past three days. Also to make it an even better experience, I was able to attend this hunt with my great friend, Bill Colwell. The experience on the swamp was exciting. The most exciting time was not the harvest, but being with my fellow Warriors.
John and Duane, this organization is "top notch" and if either on e of you ever need anything, do not hesitate to ask me. I will do everything I can to give back for what you have done for me this weekend. Thank you is not enough !!! I cannot tell you how thankful I truly am. It has been a truly wonderful healing weekend. And I truly thank you , John and Duane, John's wife and everyone behind the scenes!!!
Emil A. Walsh
SFC USA Airborne
It is the day after out Gator Hunt. I have been on trips before and regardless every time is a step into the unknown. When I arrived at the airport I immediately knew who was picking me up. Here comes this giant F-350 pickup lifted and loud. My first thought was, "oh shit, this dude is just like me. Has to be with a truck like that". We quickly rallied with the other warriors. It was like we had known each other for years. John was an inspiration to us all immediately. I think the reason this organization works is because of who John is and what he stands for. Without John and his family, this organization fails. It takes a special person to connect with warriors, to gain their trust, and ultimately inspire them. John does that. We also had the time to spend with other great patriots. Duane Wallace poured his heart & soul in to the coordination of this hunt and it showed. Without Duane, this would not have been possible. Duane is not alone, Brian, Cajun, Phil, Jerry and many others stood up and supported us 100% by helping make this event possible.
So what is it to hunt a gator off an airboat? Can you even fathom that? I couldn't. First the airboats. What great examples of American ingenuity. These things are fast, loud, and can turn on a dime. I want one. Someday, I will have one. I will tag it out with lights and it will be awesome. Now onto the gators. Toothy aggressive little pricks that could take your life if you made a mistake. That's the thrill of it. I harpooned my gator right off the front of the boat after fours misses prior. I was starting to sweat it a little bit. "what if I can't throw this thing?" It is something that is definitely not natural and takes practice. So finally we get him in the boat, tape his mouth and proceed to extinguish his life with John's knife in the back of the skull into the spinal column. The pressure was off and I just took down one of America's most dangerous animals. WWIA-1, Gators-0. We continued to hunt (run&gun, balls out). Captain Phil has his own unique way of doing things which is cool. John says the reunion after the hunt is the best and I have to agree. The beer was flowing just like the war stories. These types of trips for me are spiritually cleansing. We all get so wrapped up in our own worlds that it becomes counterproductive. This trip renewed my faith in people and has helped me remember who I am and what I stand for. It also brings to the forefront the values I hold dear and why I associate with a certain breed. Better having been able to spend these last three days with my brothers in arms. Hopefully, I can grow with the WWIA in the future and become an implement to the grand plan. I am looking forward to crowning the 2011 Swamp Babe next year.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that have been bestowed upon me. I will never be able to say "thank you" enough. Hopefully, someday, I can show the same hospitality to all the people who have offered it to me.
It was truly the hunt of a lifetime. It means so much to have a brother in arms to give back so much and to have no other thought but to serve those who have served with you. With your vision of providing for your brothers and sisters only forms for me to do the same. I can't thank you enough for this great weekend and bring me and another brother together. If you ever need me for support, or whatever please call.
It has truly been an honor and a pleasure to serve you and the Wounded Warriors here at the Grand Ciel Lodge. Those who have served us by wearing the uniform, fight for all of us so that we can have and maintain our many freedoms. Julie and I cannot express in words the extent of our gratitude and appreciation to all who have sacrificed on our behalf. Anything we can do to assist you in your WWIA mission, please let us know. I admire your vision, your drive and your cause. You are an honorable man. I could tell that over the past year through all the calls and emails leading to the hunt. Finally meeting you last Thursday, only confirmed my initial impression. I can see God has blessed you in your life- I hope and pray He continues to bless you in the future.
Brad and Julie Boisen
Well it's the morning to leave Camp Hackett and the rig. All the boys have pulled out except Jake and he is mulling around outside and around the barn and you are in town taking care of everything like you always do. You will never realize how much you have touched my heart. I felt at home here. My first hunting trip and I have learned so much. Listening to you and watching every move you, Jake and the boys made. I can truly see this being a passion for life. To have my first hunting trip with brothers of service meant more to me than words can express. Thank you for letting me spend time with you in the glorious woods and for introducing me to some fine people in town, Steve, Bob & Pat. One day, I hope to meet your lovely bride. Much luck in the future with the WWIA and you can always count on me to help! God bless.
SGT Sophia Malone
John, the past days have been a blast. I can't tell you how much I thank you for helping our nation's combat wounded. Hunting is just a small part of what you are doing. To meet people just like us means more than you know, I would like to thank you for the chance to meet these wonderful people. We will need to stay in touch. I would love to help the WWIA
SSG James Lovell
US Army (RET) Scouts Out.
John- our hunt has come to a close. It was a great hunt, even with no deer. To be able to spend time outdoors with old friends, and make new friends, that is why I hunt. The "kill" is just a small part of it. You called us an inspiration and heroes. I call you an inspiration and hero. The time & money that you have taken from your family and given to us is amazing. We will stay in touch and I hope to be able to help the WWIA grow.
MSG Timothy L. Spence
Thank you so much for a once in a lifetime event. The past four days have been incredible. The challenge of enduring sub-freezing temps and hours of patiently waiting just to get a chance to see that "shooter buck" were exhilarating. Although we never got the chance to harvest a buck, the time spent in the stands reflecting on the beauty of life and nature could not be replaced. Without you and your organization, I would never have had the opportunity to hunt in this environment. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I once asked you if there were other groups like yours. I now realize that WWIA is truly ONE of a KIND. You have formed an outstanding organization for all Wounded Warriors. I would also like to thank those who help do what you do, like Jake, Bob, Steve, and Tom. You can't do it alone, brother. Your family has made a commitment to assist you in your mission.
Keep doing what you are doing. You are a torch bearer and an inspiration to all us Wounded Warriors. I hope our paths will cross again in the future. Tim and I will do whatever we can to assist you with healing brothers and sisters like us. It would be an honor to serve your cause. Once again, thank you and God bless America!
SFC Robert Shaffer
John- thank you so much for inviting me to come down and hunt with yourself, Jake, Josh, Lonnie and Michael. It has been an awesome experience being able to come to Wisconsin and try hunting outside the UP of Michigan. Camp Hackett is a special place and a sportsman’s paradise. If you ever have another opening for someone with a stick and a string to come down and hunt, be sure to give me a call. Once again, thank you so much. I am bummed that I’ll be missing out on the Chippewa River Muskie Fishing trip you guys are going on tomorrow. The best of luck to you guys. You are doing a great thing with the WWIA and I’ll be in touch with you to see how things are going. Take care and good luck hunting.
SSG Derek Van Buren
1431st EN CO (SAPPER) MIARNG
So there I was deep in the forest, surrounded only by trees and the spirit of the beast who I knew was lurking nearby. One night after a long day of hunting, John decided he was going to partake in a manhunt. I decided that this was a moment I needed to seize and I asked if I could join him. Game on. This hunt was what hunters dream about packing in all your gear, climbing up a tree, placing your stand, and waiting for the monster . We hiked in, stored our gear and went to survey the area. John was on point and took me to the edge of the Beaver Pond. We crouched there under two giant pines to gaze upon a majestic Eagle flying overhead. In my eyes, this was a sign. Today was going to be a spectacular day. I picked out a spot, policed up all my gear, established a rally point with John and departed to my site. Upon arrival, I limb up the tree and place my climber. Now we play the waiting game. Forty five minutes later, along comes a small 6 point just prancing through the forest without a care in the world. I observe him for about 10 minutes before he prances off. Darkness falls and we begin our trek back to camp. That was what hunting is all about.
This being my second entry, I still have some thanks to give out. Tom and Brad, thanks for introducing me to Muskie fishing on a fly rod. That was eye opening and a great day on the river. Jake, your hard work and light spirit kept camp going. Thanks for all the insight and friendship during this weekend. I'll keep in touch. Finally John and Kellie, you know the drill but its worth repeating. You are the backbone of the foundation and an inspiration to us all. Your dedication and unselfishness are monumental in the foundation and it is apparent to the Warriors. I am glad to have been able to hunt with you as well as share some thoughts and ideas. You are all truly patriots and friends. Thank you again for the experience of a lifetime and memories that will last forever.
Thank you for a great hunt you put on and I come here being depressed about life and found out to live my dreams out and strive to do the right thing always. John, you light the fire in my belly again and to have a passion for life. Thanks.
E-5 1st LRS
John (WWIA), God bless you for your efforts with your organization. Brian, Doug and Brad had such a phenomenal operation hunting ducks here at the Squaw Creek Refuge. I am not an experienced duck hunter, but now I am hooked. Thanks again and stay in touch.
Thank you so much for starting the WWIA foundation, and putting on these hunts. It was so awesome to get out on the water and blast away at tons of ducks, and to see all of the support from the community and all the men and women that came together to make this hunt happen. Tim was a wonderful host and did a great job on executing the mission. It was the best hunt that I’ve ever been on in my life.
What a trip!! 68 bass were caught between us, with even more that got away. I even caught the 3 largest bass I have EVER caught before. What a trip!!! It is people such as yourself who give us veterans a good name. Your dedication to the WWIA is amazing. To start something like this is not only remarkable, but inspiring as well. It shows what kind of soldier you are, and what you care about. I have met many people who talk a good game about helping others but very few who actively follow through. Thank you for the great experience you have left for me to remember for a long time. But THANK YOU again and even so for not only being here for us but caring enough to help at all. I have always been a great judge of character and I know that every soldier that crosses your path will the better for it!! Keep up the GREAT TIMES.
Time to kill some deer. Nothing makes me more happy than being outside in the woods, with nature, hunting from dawn to dusk. This event was a great time. It was easy to see that everyone involved put forth a great amount of time and effort to make sure we all had a wonderful time. Thanks to all.
We arrived in Alabama on Friday and sadly it is now Sunday and this awesome whitetail hunt is almost over. Mr. Steve Lambert and all the folks that sacrificed their own time to cook and help field dress animals have been amazing. The property here is incredible, and there is a ton of whitetail deer. Deer hunting is my life’s passion and is a huge process in my personal recovery. I have to thank John and Jake for all of their hard work and effort in making this hunt happen. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it has meant to me. I’ve had a plain and simply amazing time. Thank you both!
Thank you WWIA for the opportunity to experience an Alabama turkey hunt with a world class turkey caller and guide, the property was very nice and everyone was very friendly. We were fed like kings! I learned some new things about turkey hunting and got to hang out with some great people. Thank you John McDaniel, Jake, Chuck, Mr. Lambert, John and his wife, and Bruce and his wife Sara. Thank you all I had a great time!
Billy E. Deen, Jr.