We have been hosting veterans, and terminally ill and at-risk youth trips through our hunting company Smoldering Lake Outfitters, since 1996. Our desire to do more for those that defend our country increased after the attacks on 9/11/2001. In 2004 a group of young men, in various stages of recovery, came to us from Walter Reed Army Hospital. That event began to reveal the therapeutic value of these trips. Until then, the trips we hosted were a mere “thank you”. As that week unfolded we began to see renewed spirits in those young men. The sparkle was returning to their eyes.
It was a few years later when our staff volunteered to host the participants of Maine’s first Disabled Veterans Moose Hunt, that the real impact of these trips was revealed.
One of those first moose hunt participants contacted me a couple of months later, thanking me for saving his life. He went on to say how this was the single nicest thing that anyone had done for him since he returned from Vietnam. Recently he had been battling demons from his battle experience and was seriously considering suicide. He was comfortable enough at camp that he opened up to some of the other veterans. He left not only renewed but with a support base and an understanding that he was not alone.
It is mind-boggling how profound an effect such a simple action/ activity can have on someone's life. It is very simple really. Bring a few veterans together to enjoy the outdoors in a comfortable, safe environment and God does the rest.
The Veterans Afield Foundation was founded in 2017 to fulfill our mission of healing through the outdoors. With the help of supporters like you, we will continue to expand our mission's reach in support of those who protect our country at home and abroad.
I encourage you to follow us on Facebook where you may learn about some of the heroes we serve and keep up to date on activities and events. Also please consider partnering with us through a contribution.
From everyone at The Veterans Afield Foundation,