It is a time of thankful celebration here at Blue Antler Studio. One of our own has returned safely home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. At four AM, my brave son-in-law stepped onto the tarmac at Seymour Johnson and into the waiting arms of his brave young wife. After spending more time apart in service to their country than together, since their beautiful May wedding, it is finally their time, God bless them both.
Yet even as we celebrate the safe return of one, we are aware of the sacrifices of others. Lisa’s husband is the founder of the non-profit organization, Wounded Warrior Outdoors www.woundedwarrioroutdoors.com. This past week we were honored to participate in one of the sponsored trips, as WWO took several recovering soldiers on a fishing adventure on the west coast of FL. The participants came from both Walter Reed Hospital in the east and Balboa Hospital in the west; all struggling through serious injuries and all so very young.
At a reception dinner on the eve of the trip, sponsors and volunteers met and mingled with relatively subdued participants, it was my first glimpse of just how amazing our young American heroes really are. Only a few days later, at the farewell dinner, we once again gathered together. This time the guys were anything but subdued as they joked with their new friends like they were old ones, swapping stories of fishing, gators,personal tragedy and perseverance.
They had come together as strangers, connected only by their tragic injuries but it seemed to me they would depart as friends, united not just by the challenges they would continue to face, but the healing adventure they had just shared.