While in Alaska for Alaska's Healing Hearts' annual bear hunt for combat wounded service member I made some awesome friends. Over the course of 10 days we shared a lot of stories, had some laughs, and helped each other through feelings no one else could possibly understand. Since leaving Alaska all we have talked about is finding a way to get back together. I feel I can safely speak for us all when I say Alaska was truly a life changing experience that helped start or progress the healing process we have all found ourselves in since being injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. It may be hard to see, but for all of us (no matter how bad the physical injuries) emotional and mental injuries are the hardest to heal.
Our intent is to get together in late October or the first week of November in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee for a few days where we can leave outside distractions behind and enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately, with guys from all over the country including Alaska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and Colorado, it is difficult for guys to afford such a trip solely out of their own pocket.
We are actively pursuing additional resources to assist with travel expenses as well as lodging; however, we want to prepare for the possibility that everything will be out of pocket. None of us like to ask for help, but sometimes you have to suck it up and do what is needed. Any amount you would be willing to help out with would be very much appreciated. If you have any resources you think would be helpful, we are also interested in those. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. Thank you for your support!
- Gerry and Sharon Stougard
- St. Elizabeth Seton Church Ladies Guild
- Joyce Housley
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