I am grateful for the opportunity that “Send-A-Vet” foundation gave me: it was a Bear hunt in northern Idaho. The camaraderie surpassed anything I had imagined. Last time I experienced this degree of fellowship, I was still Active duty, and this was one of the few times after I was medically retired I have felt at peace with myself and I actually was able to sleep without my prescription medication. I spent my days in the woods where the solitude helped me work through some things: it was better than any treatment or medication that the doctors have given me. At night, all the hunters would break bread around the fire as we talked about the wildlife we seen, told funny stories of our past experiences in the military and enjoyed each other’s company.
To me, those little moments were the best moments of the entire trip: the ability to bond and relate, and speak of how certain people deal with different medical issues or best way to go about navigating the VA system. I learned a lot, I saw every one there as someone I could trust, which is something I do not do or take easily.
Mark is a man of his word whom I respect a lot, I was invited twice to the Idaho adventure: the first time I did not harvest any game and Mark said to me that I would get a chance until I harvested a Bear. Mark kept his promise and on my second trip I harvested a beautiful black bear. Mark was as excited, if not more excited as I was. This day, I think that is the coolest thing I’ve done and talk about it all the time.
I’ve made friends to this day that I still stay in touch with, thanks to the Send-A-Vet foundation. I feel like that this has created a small community, as for Mark, even with his busy schedule and life he still finds time to call or text for the holidays. Mark and Ricky have created a very special organization in the Send-A-Vet foundation. It has been an amazing opportunity and honor to have been given the chance to be part of this experience.
C., Pedro SFC-RET