Gone to Texas! The Warrior Bonfire Program has successfully invaded a new territory with our first of many Pig & Predator Hunts! As with all things Texas, this was BIG! Led and organized by one of our Board of Advisors, Ernest Clement, this event was a collective event of roughly 30 volunteers and donors from various parts of Texas.
The hospitality shown to our Purple Heart Veterans as part of the Warrior Bonfire Program was astronomical. The precision and efficient coordination of these remarkable volunteers was nothing short of pure professionalism. One would think they had been an operation like a military unit for years! Our Purple Heart guests took notice of all their hard work and felt that this example of “Thank you for your service” really meant something!
The gap between the civilian world and the military world became a topic over the weekend among our Purple Hearts. Part of the struggle and frustration they face daily is the lack of understanding among civilians of those that have served and those that have truly sacrificed for our freedoms. Being at an event that incorporated a large group of civilians, a few that are Veterans themselves, highlighted the fact that if the two groups never talk about the experience that our service members have encountered and help educate civilians, then the gap will remain to grow bigger and the bridge will need to be longer. This gap is an incredible problem in this country as many do not understand its impact. This weekend offered opportunities for questions to be asked and answered, leading to better understanding on both sides of the gap. Post Traumatic Growth in a different form!
As for the hunt itself, every Purple Heart got his pig and experienced a night guided hunt with trained dogs. One of our guides was Jeremy Spoerle, a post 9/11 Purple Heart, who has found his own form of therapy in raising and training guide dogs, as well as running them along with the help of his sons. This form of hunting was something new to almost every one of our Veterans. It may be hard to believe but being out in the night air, tracking and running down pigs, through the thicket and mud, created the powerful bond of brotherhood and reminded them of how much they miss the protection of one another. Watching out for one another and having each other’s backs is a comfortable feeling and practically comes as second nature to combat veterans.
During the daylight hours, if someone one was in earshot of our sporting clay shoot contests, one would think they were transported back to the Civil War! Rapid gun fire charged the air, the excitement, and the fun! This small competition added a familiar dynamic which again added to the overall camaraderie.
With all of our events we try real hard to feed them well and this trip more than measured up! Most of all the food was prepared by Big Rich Courville of Beaumont, TX. By the time the weekend ended we weren’t quite sure who the word “pig” was referring to! We thank Big Rich and his crew for all they did to keep us full! Along with all the yummies, we had a beautiful roof over our heads at the lake front home of Franklin Anding which provided a bed for all and plenty of space to host the troops. Our guides were top notch and professional and our operations crew could not be beat. In the words of one our Purple Hearts, Steve Holden, “This was absolutely the best trip and event!! I was completely shocked by the hospitality and friendliness that everyone displayed. Amazing!!”
The Warrior Bonfire Program looks to grow our efforts in Texas and we believe we have found the most energetic and giving group of people on the planet. We are happy and appreciative to Go To Texas, anytime! Beautiful Country and Beautiful People!
Please visit our website page to see all the fun and a list of those that helped make it possible. Click here!