A Part of the Family...
This is a story from another one of our heroes:
My name is Tommy Reynolds and I served 5 years in the Army as an Infantry Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division from 2003-2008. This included a 15-month deployment to Samarra Iraq in 2006-2007. At that time, I had little knowledge how it would affect the rest of my life.
Since returning from Iraq and getting out of the Army, my life has not been the same. I have not been the same. For the first 8 years since returning from combat, I had little concern if I lived or died and used things to mask how I felt. Nothing brought me joy, and I was miserable.
As I started to get involved with other Veteran program, and using services provided by the VA, I started to find purpose and happiness again. This is when I heard about Potomac Highlands Wounded Warrior Outreach and heard how great of an experience Veterans were having with them.
I signed up and got a call from Richard that I had been selected to go on a bear hunt.
I was excited as I always wanted to bear hunt. Once it got closer to time, I started having feelings of backing out, as I am not a fan of unfamiliar surroundings and people.
But once I got there, I felt like part of the family, and not once did I feel uncomfortable.
From the PHWWO staff to all of the bear hunters, as well as the town of Brandywine, they all really made us all feel welcome. Words can’t even come close to expressing the joy and comfort that is felt during this hunt.
It has changed my life forever and I have made lifelong friends.
Since getting out in 2008, I can count on one hand how many times I felt I could let my guard down, felt safe, laughed --- and experience pure joy and this was one of them.
Thank you to all who help to make this happen. You have truly changed my life for the better and I will never forget it.