Escaping “The Trap” is what we do at the Bonfire and our last trip highlighted that this is an answer to the growing problem. Kentucky is officially now, an annual Bonfire destination! This trip provided the perfect mix of activities from sailing, fishing, sporting clays, boating and swimming with much needed down time and relaxation. Sometimes our events can be a bit rigorous with a tight itinerary to keep our Purple Hearts moving but we are finding the trips that allow for more time to chill and talk, while in the outdoors, are most beneficial trips. Board of Director member Lloyd Munn, who assisted on this event when asked of his experience stated strongly and with conviction, "this is the REAL deal!"
The common theme here was the conversation of how to keep combat injured veterans from withdrawing and being alone. As Purple Heart David Connelly stated, “guys isolating themselves is never safe.” Very often on these trips we hear comments such as, “getting all up in your head is a trap” or “I just sit in my workshop and only come out to eat”. This is why we do what we do at the Warrior Bonfire Program; we give them the opportunity, at no cost and little effort, to get out of these dark places. We show the example of how to physically get moving, we give them the connections to call each other and go! It is our goal that over time, these men and women will find strength in this practice and take it home to their families, fellow veterans, and communities.
Another area of discussion and that our participants feel the need of more attention, is that more and more we are learning that Veterans are choosing to self-medicate rather than risk going to the VA’s and being prescribed medication that have the zombie like side effects. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol coupled with isolation is incredibly dangerous. As the suicide rate among veterans continues to be higher than any other demographic, we need to focus on solutions.
The Warrior Bonfire Program believes that solution is exactly doing what we do. Showing the example to get out, be a part of a community, go new places, try new things, be around peers that will tell you and set an expectation to be better, make better choices, be healthier and choose living large rather than living lonely. The network of the Brotherhood is out there.
We thank all those of the Grand Rivers, KY community for their support and generosity by providing fishing, sailing, live music entertainment and their “unbridled spirit!”
Click Here for Photos of the trip!
On September 11, 2017, two schools in opposition on the field and courts came together for a greater cause, in honor of first responders and military service men and women. Presbyterian Christian School of Hattiesburg, MS and Jackson Academy of Jackson, MS not only competed Monday evening in volley ball, soccer and softball, but they brought the competition to a higher level.
Playing sports is wonderful for many reasons such as team building, health, mental training, and competition, but in addition to these, the best reason to play sports is for the life lessons that are taught. Playing or working for something bigger than yourself, like many of our first responders and military do everyday.
Coaches Jacob Morgan and Christina Lawrence, along with PCS Athletic Director, Josh Dorman, led the charge to pull together a fundraising operation where both schools sold over 275 shirts and all proceeds went to the Warrior Bonfire Program. As part of Patriot Day at Presbyterian Christian School, shirts designed with a 9 on the front and an 11 on the back displayed with "Never Forget", were sold to students and parents, raising $2,000 in support of our Purple Hearts. Local vendor American Graphics partnered with the operation to offer high quality shirts at an extremely low cost allowing the schools to donate all proceeds.
Patriot Day consisted of a morning Pep Rally, where education of the events of 9/11 was presented, a moment of silence, and local firefighters, policemen, and military were honored. Also, at all events on campus, volleyball, soccer and softball, again recognition was given to local first responders and military.
In attendance on the behalf of Warrior Bonfire Program was Lloyd Munn. Not only is Munn a popular local musician in Hattiesburg and father of a PCS alum, but he serves on our Board of Directors and organized our ever growing and energetic, Jammin at the Bonfire, program. Munn had just returned that day from assisting on the Warrior Bonfires' 43rd signature Bonfire event held in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Munn shared his experience and witness of his time with six Purple Heart veterans over the weekend. Munn summed it up with, "it's the real deal!"
The Warrior Bonfire Program is extremely honored to have been chosen to benefit from this awesome display of support. We thank all those that organized and participated! Being that we serve Post 9/11 Purple Hearts, those that truly stepped up to battle the evil that changed American lives forever, this gesture touched our hearts.
If we do not show our young Americans that we support those that keep us safe in return for their service, why would they ever consider stepping up to serve and protect.? They are our future!
WBP Team writers
Blogs are written by staff members of the Warrior Bonfire Program along with guest writers.