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,
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
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
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
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
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