Military staff, service members, and their families—350 in all—from the Fort Bliss Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) joined Freedom Alliance for a special night out at Cattleman’s Steakhouse. The restaurant is set at the Indian Cliffs Ranch, which is near the El Paso, Texas, Army post.
We have been hosting these troop appreciation dinners for seven years now to show our respect and gratitude to WTB men and women in transition at Fort Bliss. The WTB’s mission is to provide medical care for service members as they heal from combat wounds, both physical and psychological, and support during their passage from active-duty to veteran status.
One means of therapy involves leaving the hospital and being in public. This is a challenging but important step in the road to recovery for the combat veteran.
This was the case for many of our guests on the night of the dinner. Indian Cliffs Ranch is a family-friendly setting, with hayrides and a fire pit, as well as spectacular Old West scenery; it was a perfect blend of easygoing fun.
Despite a substantial attendance, our team members were able to get chummy with some of the military families. We met Olga and Mark, a couple with two young children. Mark was a Marine for six years, and then joined the Army seven years ago after a hiatus.
He has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and it was there that he was injured when his grenade launcher malfunctioned. Many surgeries have ensued in an effort to correct ligament and nerve damage, and there are more to come. Steel rods were inserted in Mark’s arms to make up for bone loss.
At first Mark told us he would eat his dinner outside in the courtyard, but he changed his mind later and braved the crowds inside the restaurant. It was a great achievement, and his wife, Olga, was pleased.
“I loved the event hosted by Freedom Alliance,” she said, “and I consider myself lucky to have met such great individuals. Every person … was extremely professional and expressed such respect.”
This family is trying to qualify for a mortgage, so they can live in San Antonio, near their extended family and a cutting-edge medical facility, when Mark is medically retired from the Army.
It was a delight to spend the evening with such fine folk, and we at Freedom Alliance look forward to the next time we get to come to support the Fort Bliss WTB.