Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation

2009 Testimonials


September 2009 FL Gator Hunt

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 known 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.

-R. Leonard, US Army
Purple Heart Recipient

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!

-B. Knapp
Purple Heart Recipient

November 2009 Camp Hackett
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.

-N. Helmuth, US Army
Purple Heart Recipient

December 2009 Hudson Farm Deer Hunt

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.

-J. Wonderlich, Hudson Farm

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 it’s easy, one word – INSPIRING! With thanks,

-Dave, Hudson Farm

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.

-C. Morgan, Hudson Farm

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.

-P. Galie

Looking forward to seeing you again and to be able to go hunting with you. I’d 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 I’ve always wanted to do more often. It feels so much better to be able to do such things as part 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. Take care.

-V. Dominguez, US Army
Purple Heart Recipient

December 2009 CA Duck Hunt

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 employers 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 Heroes.

-D. Duplisea
Purple Heart Recipient

Dear John, 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 Kentucky. An added bonus was getting to hunt with my friend, battle buddy, and former platoon sergeant, Derek Duplisea.
I came away from the WWIA waterfowl hunting trip stronger and more independent yet. I mentioned earlier that words will not provide the feelings I want to express. WWIA allowed me to pursue a dream-hunt and further provided the therapy that no sterile Dr.’s office will ever do. Thank you, John, and WWIA! May you call on me to help your organization in any capacity!

-B. Alexander, US Army
Purple Heart Recipient