We are all about stepping out of the box and on this trip, our box got wet, soared through the air and hit top speeds of 130mph! June 2015 found us near Asheville, North Carolina, camping on the banks of the French Broad River. When we say camping, we mean camping with tents on the ground and roughin it! Except for the food! The WBP wheels in its own outdoor kitchen complete with a triangle dinner call bell and the boys come running for the good grub! Also, we make sure to take at a well-run campground with facilities. So it’s not too rough! Our new home was at the French Broad River Campground which provided beautiful scenery and the privacy we needed to host our veterans in proper fashion.
There was no shortage of opportunities for our warriors to face their limitations and conquer! Please don't miss understand, our veterans are strong and their mindsets are determined but the results from Traumatic Brain Injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders create barriers that in an everyday environments aren't presented regularly. Therefore, the individual doesn't have the chance to learn to recognize triggers and implement coping tools. This group was presented some extreme elements in addition to the discomforts of camping.
They ziplined with the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the regions longest zipline, 1/2 mile long 500 feet above the Nantahala River, they battled through the rapids of the French Broad and Nantahla Rivers, and controlled 3400 pound NASCARS navigating turns and passes like champions. Fears of falling, drowning and crashing are present for most of us, but choosing to put yourself in those vulnerable situations while already being strapped with the frustrations of not having full control over your mind and body, is not easy and it takes extreme guts! Our WBP Brothers did not back down!
Challenges are not only faced in the physical elements. When our Purple Hearts get together they implement a process that ultimately forces each other to face and control demons that most of us that have never seen combat and the atrocities our military has seen, could understand. These demons can cause one to seclude themselves, be judgmental of others, push away loved ones and much more. These men call each other out in a way that only those is this circle can do. At the end of every trip we hear a comment like this one from Sapper J, aka Jeremy Johnson, "you have changed my life, my wife's life, and my children's lives, forever."
It is imperative that we keep on Building the Bonfire!
See photos from this trip!
Staff Writer - Helen Phillips