Freedom Alliance recently gave a Troop Appreciation Dinner (TAD) to honor the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Fort Riley, Kansas. Fort Riley is the home of the Army’s first WTB complex, which provides physical and mental health therapy for wounded soldiers and their families.
Four-time TAD hostess Sharon Cavey sponsored this late June dinner for the WTB at the Little Apple Brewing Company in Manhattan, Kansas.
Among the 40 attendees were young couple Brad and Megan, who celebrated their one-year anniversary. “Thank you for the free dinner and Pizza Hut gift cards,” they wrote. “We appreciate the thought and hard work that went into organizing this delicious meal.”
Another guest, Francisco, suffers from a traumatic brain injury, but he’s working diligently on his recovery. He hopes to return home soon to his four daughters, who live in Georgia. Francisco said that the timing of the dinner was an advantage, because he had been feeling quite homesick for his family and needed a pick-me-up.
“This event truly reveals the appreciation and support wounded warriors have here in the States,” he said. “I’m very grateful and appreciative of this opportunity. Thank you for the generosity and support.”
Kevin, an Army veteran of 20 years, is undergoing his treatment courses and hadn’t seen his wife of 23 years for a long while. Jan made the six-plus-hour drive from Minnesota to enjoy a long overdue dinner date with her husband. “What a great start to reconnect as a couple,” they gushed.
Greg came with his wife, Kimberly, and their six-month-old daughter, AnnaLee Elizabeth. The little family was so cheerful; one would never guess the hardships Greg’s faced during his transition home. Recently he joined the annual motorcycle ride to the Vietnam Wall in D.C. for Memorial Day, and he compared his coming home to what the Vietnam veterans faced when their war was ended.
“I had no welcoming outside my family; I’ve been spat at, stared at, and called derogatory words. When I got an invite for this dinner, it was like the civilian world reaching out. The experience … was pleasant, and I was reminded of the wonderful ‘welcome home’ I received on the Run for the Wall. I feel like the civilian side is giving us a hug and welcoming us to their family.”
Freedom Alliance team members are delighted to meet the troops at these dinners, to hear their stories and recount their experiences. It was a pleasure to include these Fort Riley WTB service members and their loved ones in our Freedom Alliance family.
Many thanks to the Fort Riley Warrior Transition Battalion for their participation and to Sharon Cavey for her generosity and friendship.