I want to start off by saying my experience with America’s Freedom Lodge was one of the best and most touching experiences I have had the pleasure of experiencing, I can not thank this organization and all of it’s supporters enough for all you have done.
When I arrived to participate in the Deer Hunt for Veterans, I did not know what to expect, but little did I know I was treated as if I was a long time friend and family member from everyone there. From the hospitality to the sincere emotions shared between everyone involved created an atmosphere like no other. I can honestly say my time at AFL helped me more than any doctor visit or therapy session has. For the first time in a long time someone was showing appreciation and support for all us Veterans. Granted there are others out there that do show support, but nothing like what was exhibited during my time there. Most people will never understand why and what us Veterans endure, but the AFL crew and volunteers did their best or knew how and what to do and say to make myself and the other Veterans feel wanted,needed,loved and most importantly just being a friend.
I did have my share of some ups and downs while I was there, but it only humbled me in the long run. I shot a nice buck and was unable to find it on the first day of hunting. On the third day I shot a doe, and unfortunately we were unable to retrieve the deer. I will admit I was a little down and heartbroken to have shot two animals and not be able to retrieve them, but the more I thought about it the more I realized just how blessed I was to have the opportunity that was provided to me. On the last and final morning of hunting, the good lord blessed me with the harvest of a lifetime. I had harvested a 10 point Ohio Whitetail.
The day I harvested my deer I was in the blind with my brother and Kevin Rodensier. I have to say while in the blind that day I had the time of my life. The conversations and the goofing off were absolutely memorable. It also showed the real meaning of why I was there and why the other Veterans need to experience what AFL has to offer. Without the opportunity provide by AFL, I would not have experienced the companionship of good friends and fellow Veterans that I did.
I want to thank the other Veterans from around the country that were there and helped make this an experience and memory of a lifetime: Keith Wnchell,Bill Wilson, Troy Givens,Mike Damaroze, Terry Morris, Don Morris, John Jones, and my brother Bill Williamson.
Once again I would like to thank America’s Freedom Lodge, Rob and Lisa Pierpont, Derek Miller, Kevin and Christy Rodeniser, Shane Anderson, Oiler’s Meat Processing, Dan Clark”s Taxidermy and all of the others that I cannot remember by name for what you do and have done for us Veterans.
With heart filled thanks and appreciation,
U.S. Army Specialist Retired
AFL Deer Hunt 2012