My husband, Retired SSG Dennis Cline, is a combat wounded amputee, he was injured 10 years ago on September 11, 2006 in Afghanistan where he lost his left hand and forearm among other injuries relating to an RPG blast. We spent a full year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center working on his recovery before he transferred to Fort Carson to regain his active duty status and continued to serve for another 9 years post injury. During his time at Walter Reed we endured many hardships besides those related to his recovery; two of our three children required serious medical intervention. Our youngest was born with a cleft palate and developmental delays relating to Autism so we faced reconstructive surgeries, speech and occupational therapy, and hospitalizations due to other birth defects. Our middle child, was born with a heart defect which also required surgery soon after we arrived at Walter Reed. To say the least, we had our hands full with his treatment and our children’s medical issues during that time. That year at Walter Reed was kind of a blur but you can imagine a broken man whose face was burned, shrapnel damage all over his body, and a missing left hand being wheeled down to the pediatric unit to sit by the bedside of his children as they came out of surgery. But he was determined to regain his strength learn to cope with his new life and limitations. We started hearing about outdoor programs for wounded vets which would give him an opportunity to get outside again, enjoy nature, and briefly forget about the struggles he faced, it was a great motivator!
Before long, we met someone from Freedom Alliance and we immediately we felt like they cared about us, everyone was very understanding and thoughtful making sure our entire family had their needs met during our time with them. The process of recovering from a traumatic war injury is not a straight path; it is a winding and often dark and frustrating route with many setbacks but also many victories. Having the opportunity to leave our problems behind, if only for a weekend is such a psychological boost that it is hard to explain. Knowing that people out there care about his sacrifice and want to do something nice for him is such a humbling experience and we are so grateful for not only the organization but also the people who donate their time and money year after year to help all the men and women who have given so much of themselves to this country. All we can say is thank you, thank you for not forgetting those who came home broken, thank you for honoring those who serve, and thank you for creating an organization to showcase the kindness and generosity of this great country.
These folks really took the time to make sure I had a great experience. With all the issues surrounding my recent medical retirement I don't get out much. Not to mention the complications of medical concerns, finances, and numerous other variables. And Freedom Alliance really made sure that I was covered and my wife was comfortable and confident about my care while on the trip.
Since I've been back from combat I've been running a thousand miles an hour trying to find rest, to get my mind to stop spinning and find something to make me feel again. It seems contradictory, but those of you who have seen combat understand what I mean.
I've been in counseling for years, attended programs to help veterans adjust to civilian life and living outside a combat zone, but nothing compared to last weekend!
Having never hunted before and once again seeking something that I heard would give me an adrenaline rush like none other I jumped at the opportunity to attend this event.
I say all of that to say this..."I had the best Veterans Day/Marine Corps Birthday ever! Not only was I able to spend time with my brothers in arms, but I was treated like a king! The food, the accommodations, the gear they hooked me up with for the hunt, and the truly appreciative people who acted on their gratitude for my service was just the beginning! I was treated for the first time since my injuries like I wasn't broken! I felt normal, I felt a part of something, I felt proud, I felt truly appreciated, and I felt honored by everything they did for me! The key word being that i FELT again! I cannot express enough MY thanks for everything they did for me and how much this last weekend finally allowed me to find rest!
One last thing, if anyone is reading this and can relate to anything I've shared, give freedom alliance a shot, and hunting too, because what and who they introduced me to this weekend has given me an outlet finally to cope with life as a combat vet!
I'd like to thank Freedom Alliance, and specifically Ryan Behm, for a great rafting trip on the Rogue River. Though weather was a factor, Ryan was able to adapt our plans to the shifting circumstances, ensuring the trip exceeded all expectations. I can think of no better way to spend a few days than in the wilderness with the crew of veterans that were on this trip.
Freedom Alliance made a great hunting trip for me and the rest of the veterans that partook in the event. I have experience with other nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to helping veterans heal from injuries and wounds sustained during, or in support of, combat operations. With that said, I can wholeheartedly say that Freedom Alliance puts a tremendous amount of time and effort into helping disabled and battle worn veterans.
Personally, I can say my experience at the Cypress Creek Hunting Lodge weekend helped me more than anyone probably could tell. I don't really speak to, get along with, or like many people. But that weekend was different, I felt at home with Pepper Ailor and the rest at the lodge. I felt more like myself than I had in a very long time. I was able to get outdoors and be one with nature. I felt alive again.
I truly hope others, like myself and the other guys there, are able to feel the joy that I did because of the efforts and dedication that Freedom Alliance has to serve those who have served.
Freedom Alliance is the best organization out there. They have made me and my family feel like there family from day one. My only regret about them is I'm not able to return the help they have given me. I am hoping that one day I will be in a place to do so until then words can't express enough thanks.
Words can't express how wonderful the entire group of Freedom Alliance is. From Hero's to Homeowners to Presents for Patriots. They do some much for those in need, it's truly amazing. Thank you Freedom Alliance for helping heal the wounds of war in all that you do. Love, The Hinds Family
The Freedom Alliance has really been there for our family. From the time my husband was in the hospital to medical retirement and beyond. The Freedom Alliance has never forgotten about us. We have had the pleasure of attending a Gala with Oliver North which was so inspiring. My Husband was welcomed to a WY adventure with fellow Marines that was a much needed experience. Whenever I contact the Freedom Alliance I am always met with compassion and understanding of the challenges we face. This organization has a stellar reputation because they stay connected to the service members and veterans they serve. It is so nice to be remembered. Thank you to Stephanie, Pepper and Tina for all the support you have given us over the years through your amazing organization. We are forever grateful.
Thanks to this amazing organization my family and I were able to celebrate my husband's retirement on a 7-day cruise. My husband was injured in Afghanistan in 2011. After 5 long years of rehab, my husband said fair winds and following seas to the US Navy. Pepper, with Freedom Alliance, knew my husband would not have a party and would quietly move to the next chapter and afforded us the opportunity to go on the amazing cruise. We are ever so grateful and have made lifelong friends who know what our everyday struggles are like. Pepper, Ryan and Alicia are more than just friends they are our extended family! Such a great organization with a genuine goal to give back!!