Coming to Cypress Creek is like walking in a Southern dream. With fields of cotton, handsome plantations, and live oaks swathed in Spanish moss, the town of Estill, South Carolina, is the ideal setting for a hunting lodge.
Lucky for us, the folks of Cypress Creek invite Freedom Alliance twice a year to share their little piece of quaint heaven with our men and women in uniform.
In late September we escorted nine veterans for the autumn deer and hog hunt at Cypress Creek Hunting Lodge. The owners, Danny and Becky, as always, welcomed us in and treated us like only the best Southern hosts can.
Altogether we had men from several generations and all branches of the military, having served in several wars and many countries. Most of the men suffer from combat-related injuries, including Matt, an Air Force veteran, whose hip replacements cause him constant pain, and Jeff, an Army captain who was wounded in Afghanistan.
Frank, a Cypress Creek patron, traditionally stays at the lodge when we bring in a group of vets. This Brooklyn native patrolled on a Navy gunship during the war in Vietnam; he always brings a special gift for our service members, in addition to countless war stories and his all-out support.
Along with Frank’s charisma and the kind staff at Cypress Creek, the men enjoy wonderful gourmet meals by Chef Craig Reimann. Citrus-marinated Alaskan salmon, venison Wellington, and an Italian desert tart, made from wine grapes grown along the Scuppernong River in North Carolina, were some of the specialties at the table.
Upon check-in at the lodge, the men headed to the rifle range in preparation for the next two days of hunting. There were hunts in the mornings and evenings, with plenty of solitude in the deer stands overlooking the beautiful landscape.
By the end of the weekend, nine deer, one hog, and a coyote were harvested. Two of our guests took their first deer! The hunts allowed these nine veterans to go home with plenty of meat for their families as well as tales to tell.
When the men were not hunting, they were fishing, shooting, or just enjoying one another. Some of the best therapy takes place when it’s a veterans-only setting. Freedom Alliance has only to bring them together to make it special.
One participant confessed that he has difficulty accepting a gift such as this. “I am humbled by being allowed this experience,” Glenn said. Nevertheless, “this was such a perfect thing … for me,” he said.
“I have been going 100 miles an hour for a long time now. I have a hard time believing that I ever need a break until I actually take one. This was so perfectly timed and with some of the best people I know. I am honored and extremely grateful.”
The owners of Cypress Creek also feel blessed to be able to help: “We are the ones that come away from the weekend with a greater appreciation for what these guys do for us each and every day to keep us safe and protect our freedom.”