Giving Back to those who served.

windward warriors

So this past week has been a long one for me and luckily, it was long in a good way.

I served in the

Marine Corps for a little over four years (2012-2016) and during my career, I had to receive a lung

surgery and my recovery was held at the Wounded Warrior Battalion in Hawaii. Long story short,

surgery sucked and I eventually retired from service and made my way here to the ReadyMan Team.

Now it has been a full year since I left the Hawaii detachment and all the friends (brothers) I had left behind

have since made their way out of the service and are spread all over the states, doing their

own thing. So when I was tagged in a Facebook post a few months ago regarding

a possible reunion in Park City, Utah, I was ecstatic to say the least! A week of reconnecting with people

who I had met briefly and others who I spent months recovering with, seemed perfect.

There are several reasons why this was so important for myself as well as the roughly 30 Marine

Vets who came. First off, it shows us that we were not numbers. Currently, there are roughly 1.4 million

active duty in the United States with approximately 1.2 million in Reserves. With such vast numbers, it is easy to forget that

each and every single one of them is a person with hopes, dreams, fears, etc.

In this group of 30 Marine vets, no one was a Medal of Honor recipient, there were a few who had purple hearts, but the

majority were guys who rose their hands high and volunteered to do a duty that is sadly not appreciated

as much in today’s society as it was in the past. So when you hear that thousands of dollars,

flights, hotel rooms, meals, and more were donated just for this isolated event, it helps put things into

perspective.

The next reason why this was so important, was that we could reconnect with each other. Some of

the people there were from before I had joined the detachment, while others were departing when I had

just joined. The last group in the detachment were the Marines I was with from day one until the day I left the island. Even as I type this, I smile thinking upon the

fond memories we share.

On the first night of the reunion, we sat on a hotel balcony smoking cigars in celebration of being alive and well, and telling

stories of each other and other members who couldn’t make it. Since my father passed away the day after his birthday and a few days before Memorial Day in 2016, I don’t really have any family to speak of. So when I see these guys, I light up as if it was a family reunion, because of the bond we share.

Friends of Windward Wounded Warriors

Surprisingly, the reason this was so important is not for the Veterans, but for the volunteers. This

entire trip was put together by a retired Chaplin who would not hesitate to step in and support any

veteran. He has a program called “Friends of Windward Wounded Warriors” which takes all sorts of donations, puts on events, and gives one hundred percent back to the Veteran community.

Now I say this was the most important part for a reason, and that is

because we cannot do events like these without volunteer support. The amount of paperwork to

even propose this in the military would take years and even then, it would likely be shot down due to money

or manpower.

So truthfully, this past week would have never happened if there wasn’t a program like

“Friends of Windward Wounded Warriors.” It becomes even more crucial as some of the volunteers

and service members had brought their children to this week-long reunion. This work builds good

character in children and raises them to become strong individuals no matter what field they go into.

Because of this, they will have fond memories of the event and may one day do it again for another group of veterans.

All in all, this past week has been a blast to see my family and reconnect with my brothers, and I sincerely hope

we can do it again in the future. Thank you to all who made this possible for us. Fair Winds and

Following Seas.

*Disclaimer: I am no writer!
– Harry Capel USMC Ret.


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