Laughter, country music and the sounds of arrows hitting archery targets echoed around the W.E. Skelton 4-H Conference Center — located on Smith Mountain Lake last week where Freedom Alliance held our second “Salute to Our Heroes Outdoor Sporting Event.”
The event – just days before Memorial Day weekend – gave Wounded Warriors from transition units all over the East Coast a chance to relax and spend time outdoors doing activities they enjoyed prior to their injuries like fishing, shooting and archery.
Many of our Wounded Warriors told Freedom Alliance this event was the first chance they had to get out of the hospital and socialize since their injury.
“Thank you for one of the best weeks of my life and the first vacation I’ve ever taken for myself. It was amazing,” Christina, a soldier from Fort Bragg, wrote to Freedom Alliance.
“We tell stories, just hang out, talk about our injuries, experiences and the medical retirement process,” said Ryan, a Marine who was shot in the leg in 2006 and injured by a roadside bomb in Fallujah in 2008.
In addition to three full days of outdoor sporting competitions they enjoyed evenings around a roaring camp fire, a barbeque dinner at the local country club and a country rock concert their last night featuring Bobby Pinson and Petty Cash.
Plaques, trophies and prizes were awarded to the winners of the various competitions in a closing ceremony before the concert.
“To be able to get out and work with professional archers, work with professional fisherman and to enjoy the outdoors, it’s something that’s important and we’re happy to provide it. They tell us it’s a good time, and that’s what we care about,” Freedom Alliance President Tom Kilgannon.