Sue Waddingham RN, BSN, IBCLC
Navy Marine Corps Relief Society
Combat Casualty Assistance Program
Rusty, MGySgt, et al.
My sincere appreciation for the opportunity to serve as an escort for the recent Devils River Trip.
I have now seen, first hand, the full measure of value these trips provide to our service members in the great outdoors… in an environment of warm hospitality, genuine camaraderie, and purposeful activity. It was readily apparent that your attention to detail, careful selection of location, and skilled control of the environment facilitated opportunities for healing far exceeding those available within the conventional health care setting.
In my interaction with the participants, I took notice as each one progressed through his assessment of the environment and the people involved, with each of their unique physical and emotional burdens, and this quickly became much more than just a weekend adventure. It became a profoundly rich experience for all.
Our generous hosts discovered that despite every effort they made and every intention of “giving” (and give, they did… with their time, their energy, their knowledge and expertise, and their food, food, and more FOOD…), they couldn’t help but feel that they had received so much more in return in getting to know these fine warriors.
Our service members experienced things like honor and acceptance, fellowship, excitement, challenge, peace, awe, freedom, and hope (and the occasional mild sunburn and river rash). I’d like to suggest that for them, because of your efforts, CMO may not only represent “Combat Marine Outdoors”, but also “Confidence Moving On.”
Great times, great memories, great work.
With warm gratitude and hugs always,
Thank you for inviting me and including Brennen on the most unique experience we have ever attended outdoors. Brennen and I both grew stronger as a father and son team this past weekend and he discovered who actually pays for our FREEDOM to hunt and fish together. Steven May was a blessing to our family. Brennen feels Steven is his new big brother. Jeremy and Josh touched us with their jokes and fun loving attitudes. Chris, Gunny Breaux, and the rest of the crew gave us a deeper respect for what all Marines and Soldiers do for us plus the sacrifices they made and are making to protect our freedoms. Brennen and I would like to thank the Cliburn Family for opening up their historic ranch to CMO’s festivities. We also took in a neat lesson on Texas History about Calhoun County cattle ranching with the Cliburn’s posted pictures and maps not to mention the evolution of cell phones display case. Brennen didn’t know what a bag phone was and had never seen a bag phone. Now that is dating technology.
Another special thanks needs to go to Mike and Vicky Campbell for making things run smooth at the ranch plus the band that made the weekend more memorable for all who attended.
The event touched Veteran Mike Kopecinski who is a disabled Veteran and Purple Heart recipient from Vietnam. Mike has shared with me the horrible chastising he received when he returned from the Vietnam War. I was glad to see Mike be apart of what he should have received and missed while he was in a hospital bed recovering from his war wounds. After hearing about how he was treated by Americans after he returned injured, it was sickening. Seeing what CMO is doing to fix that historical mistake by last weekend events, After this event, I know CMO is making all the right moves to make sure our Veterans feel appreciated for what they sacrificed. I pray and feel that US Citizens have learned from their past mistakes of not embracing our protectors. Combat Marine Outdoors and it’s supporters are making the proper Christian based stand for what is needed to help the Armed Force’s wounded get back to a normal life of love and support from the community from which they enlisted.
The Larson Family extends any of their resources to CMO for as long as Veterans need a welcome home experience or excursion to help them reenter the life they left behind to keep my family out of harms way.
Please fill free to call me for help with any of your future projects.
The Larson Family wants to welcome home all veterans and wants each Veteran, wounded or not, to feel like the Hero we know them to be.
Hope you have a great day,
Reese Kimball, CEO, Empower Vets
I cannot begin to tell you how honored I was to be Combat Marine Outdoors’ host at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on Wednesday. It was truly humbling for me to meet those young men who gave so much to ensure my freedom and way of life. Each and every one of our young heroes deserve so much more. I hear from time to time someone talking about an experience that is “life changing”. And now I can say that I definitely have had one. Throughout the event on Armed Forces Appreciation Day, I learned what is all about to be of service to your country and what sacrifice is. Too much of my life has been consumed by attempting to meet my own needs. My volunteering for that committee is something that will change me and the way that I look at our country and its Armed Services forever.
From listening to the story from Micheal Thornton to watching the World War II veterans shake the hands of the young folks , I was moved by the power of that day. And nothing was more powerful than being able to spend time with the young men from Combat Marine Outdoors. I can’t wait to see the guys again so don’t forget to send me the details for your event at BAMC in April. I really would like to attend. Thanks again and I am already looking forward to doing it bigger and better next year.
Maj. Gen. Michael Regner, USMC
Although I am currently deployed to Afghanistan, my great
appreciation for the service you are providing to our Wounded Warriors
is greatly appreciated by all of us!
Thanks for all you are doing to keep their morale up!
Pat O’Brien, Captain, Southwest Airlines
I am honored to be a even a small part what turned out to be a memorable weekend. The welcome aboard PA by First Officer Rick Childers set the tone for the flight and Flight Attendants Nancy Martin, John Cloud and Kim Crane showed everyone why we truly are the “Luv” airline. A couple of phone calls and a few radio calls to Nashville Operations is all it took for the people of Southwest Airlines to honor the four young men with a “Budweiser Welcome”. All five of us were amazed at the reception in the terminal and honored to be a part of what became an “Welcome Home” for these four Marines who paid a price for the freedom we enjoy.
Malcolm Phillips, Owner, Little Arrowhead Ranch
I felt honored to put on this event and was truly touched by these two brave men. It would not have be as successful without the help of my right hands, Kenny Mattern, Michael Perry and of course my wife Denise. There help along with some very special guest made the weekend much easier and unbelievably rewarding.
Macy Ledbetter, Wildlife Biologist
The Adventure at the Little Arrowhead was more than just a deer hunt. It was an opportunity for people to connect, hear stories that needed to be told, and to say words that needed to be said. Everyone involved is sure to carry their experiences with them out into their every day lives, to share those things that were said, done and felt with others. Making the connections and spreading the experiences with others is what makes the mission of Combat Marine Outdoors so successful and worthwhile. Don’t pass up the opportunity to participate in a CMO Event, and don’t pass up the chance to thank our men and women in uniform for their service and sacrifices.
Mike & LouAnn McKinney, Texas A&M
Mike and I want to thank you and CMO for your generous outdoors visit and day spent at Aggieland. We were deeply touched by the Marines an their horrific injuries sustained while fighting to protect our lives on American soil. It tore me up emotionally as I visited with them.
Words are inadequite when it comes to thanking our military for sacrificing their lives and healthy bodies for us.
Please please let us know if we can host them at a futue game. Thanks again for all you do!
Lou Ann and Mike
Chancellor, Texas A&M University
Jill Frazier, Exotic Wildlife Association
Rusty and Col. Orr,
It is I that thank you and our heroes for taking time to come and share your message. Saying that I witnessed (that Saturday evening) something that will forever be scrolled in the pages of my memory, just isn’t enough. I appreciate the time that you spent in sharing your story with me on how you “acquired” the motorized rough-terrain vehicle with God’s intervention! The flag ceremony was both inspirational and reminded me of just how proud I am to live in America (especially in the state of Texas)!
Lonnie White, Retired Marine
Again it’s always an honor forour group to be part of welcoming these Combat Marine Outdoors heroes to Nashville and to our tailgate party. As they were leaving the tailgate party, you felt a little lump in the throat, , and you know you had a friend for life.
God Bless our heroes, and God Bless all of you that open your hearts and homes for them.
All Gave Some…Some Gave All
Ivonne Thompson, wife of a Navy Corpsman
Scott Mooring, Owner, 4M Ranch
We all had a great time! It was a very personal and meaningful time to say the least. Combat Marine Outdoors is a fantastic organization. The Moorings’ and 4M Ranch want to be involved and are very much looking forward to sharing with others in the future.
We pray that God continues to lead us and bless us as we try to help people in the future. The injured Marines are always in our prayers.
Lt. Gen. Robert ‘Boomer’ Milstead, USMC
Keeping faith with our Marines, Sailors, and families is one of our core priorities. Thank you CMO for all you do. Please call on me if I may be of any assistance.
S/f Boomer Milstead
LtGen R.E. Milstead, Jr.
Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA)
I am truly humbled by the experience and to say that these days spent together have changed my perspective on life, is an understatement. Cullen, Jeff, Jim and I got more out of this than you can possibly imagine because now we truly understand what you guys have gone thru and will continue to endure and we can pass on your stories and generate more interest in Combat Marine Outdoors. “Always Faithful, Often Tested, Brothers Forever”. No truer words have ever been spoken.
Major Chris Cohn, Pilot, USMC
This past weekend was a life changing, memorable event for all of us. Your kindness is beyond compare. Words simply can never express the thanks we have for being able to go into the outdoors and experience this incredible hospitality.
Lance Corporal Joshua McDaniel
Corbin…. You helped me get my first buck and Hog in Texas. Thank you so much sir, you don’t know how much that means to me. You are a awesome guy. Jeff…. You took me out the first day I got here and I saw more deer than I have ever seen…..thank you. Corbin, Jim, Jeff and Cullen…. I can honestly say that the last three days have been the best I’ve had in two years. You guys are worth every scar on my body and everything that I have gone through. No human expression can compare to the feelings that I felt while I was at the ranch. I WILL see you again. Thank you so much.
June 7, 2010- Port O’Connor CMO Fishing Trip
I wanted to thank you for an incredible and memorable weekend. I knew it would be an awesome and emotional experience but it exceeded every expectation I had in every way. Combat Marine Outdoors is building something very special and impactful for both those of us who want to support our Marines in any way possible and for the Marines themselves.
Drue and David Boyles
Drue Boyles on behalf of her husband, David June 10, 2010- POC Fishing Trip
Inspirational…. David told me over the phone as he was driving home. It was awesome to hear him so much on fire about it. This weekend will have an everlasting impact for both of us and we are grateful for it
Lance Corporal Ivan Perez
Dec 20, 2009- Elm Lake Ranch Hunt
There are many things I can say to say “Thank you” but there is not enough paper to express my thoughts. I can honestly say that I am grateful for one thing…. a smile. I have been going through some rough times lately and had no reason for any joy in my life. Thankfully, Combat Marine Outdoors made it possible to meet the Kiefers. This experience has changed my life forever. You made me remember why I joined the Marines and fought for our country. It is great to know there are people like you that appreciate our service.
Craig Smith – President, Game Guard Apparel
It makes me very proud to have this opportunity to honor these true heroes. All of you have made a tremendous sacrifice for our country and for those who can’t protect themselves. In God’s eyes, the greatest heroes of faith are not those that achieve prosperity, success and power in this life, but those who treat this life as a temporary assignment and serve faithfully. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” From all of us at Game Guard, we thank you and have a great time in the outdoors.
LtCol David Barnes, USMCR
O.I.C. Wounded Warrior Battalion, BAMC
Thank you for a wonderful weekend and for the support you have provided my Marines. These are memories that last a lifetime.
Sgt David McCreary, USMC
Balboa Naval Hospital
I’m still talking about my experience to all my Marines and friends, and every time someone comes to the house I bring out my pictures and cook them up some of that oryx. To be able to have that oppritunity that was blessed upon me was just amazing, I can not thank you and the rest of the Combat Marine Outdoors program enough. I had another surgery back on Friday the 12th of Feburary, they went in and did some more work on my knee. If everything heals up right I can start to put weight on my left leg in two months and
hopefully walking in three months. The Monday before my surgery I had my Purple Heart ceremony, my company was in attendance along with my family, my parents and brother also came out for the presentation. If there is anything I can do to help out with Combat Marine Outdoors please let me know, take care, and once again thank you for all that you have done for me.
Sgt Ken Bowen
Feb 18, 2010 Hideaway Ranch Hunt with the Kiefers
This was the perfect hunt , not because I shot the buck of a lifetime, but because I felt that the friendships made were just as memorable. This was special to me because I saw a father and a son share the same passion for the outdoors that my Dad and I use to enjoy. Everytime I think of this hunt it brings a smile to my face and it will always hold a special place in my best outdoor memories. It’s patriots such as the Kiefer’s that made me feel welcome and because you opened up your house to strangers like us, I will always be thankful to you. Hope our paths cross soon and may God Bless.
Matt Young, Medical Student at U of H Medical School
It was an incredible time with these very special Marines. This entire weekend was a ‘life changing’ experience. I will never forget it.
Capt Ryan Voltin, Cobra Pilot-USMC
2010 Y.O. Ranch Hunt
The Y.O. Ranch Hunt went above and beyond anything I could have hoped for. Thank you for your generosity, Semper Fidelis!
Sgt James Gill, Sniper, USMC
Thank you Combat Marine Outdoors and for allowing me the opportunity to get out and hunt!
Sgt Luis Ruiz, USMC
Thank you CMO for allowing me to take a Trophy of a Lifetime. I will never forget it.
Cpl Zack Briseno, USMC
The Y.O. Ranch weekend was defintely an experience to treasure and remember. Thank you CMO for your hospitality and Support
LtGen Joseph Weber, USMC, ret.
Combat Marine Outdoors is having a great impact on the lives of these young Marines. Semper Fi…. HoooRah !