Military Warriors Support Foundation recently hosted three veterans, two of whom are medically retired, for a midweek retreat at Patriot Point.
The guests traveled from Frederick, Md.; San Antonio; and Boston, N.Y., and enjoyed several days of hunting. It was the first bird hunt for all three guests.
The area in front of the Patriot Point Main House received its finishing touches thanks in part to three generations of the Plank family.
Patriot Point Managing Member Stuart Plank and his son, Casey, a student at Georgetown Prep, were joined by 10 of Casey’s classmates as they erected three new flagpoles in the circle in the middle of the driveway in front of the Main House.
The flagpoles, donated by Jayne Plank, Stuart’s mother, were the last piece of the hardscape renovations that include a new parking area and landscaping.
“It was great,” Stuart Plank said. “It was tough to get the flagpoles just right. You’ve got to plumb them and get the hydraulic cement around them so they stay. My son said to me, ‘This is really cool. We did something down here that I’ll be able to see for years to come.’ It creates a very welcoming area.”
The students spent one night at Patriot Point. In addition to raising the flagpoles, they helped with landscaping work and did cleanup in the woods “under the command of Mike Mattingly,” Stuart Plank said.
Several veterans referred by the Wounded Warrior Project and the Marine Corps League recently visited Patriot Point for a midweek hunting retreat.
The group gathered at Patriot Point the night before the hunt for a dinner supplied by Bob Basarab and Bel Air Road Supply.
“The group stayed up late getting to know each other and swapping stories,” said John Rego, a U.S. Army veteran who was an Airborne ranger and served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Patriot Point managing member Stuart Plank, general manager Hugh Middleton and volunteer coordinator Mike Mattingly “did an amazing job of letting everyone feel welcome.”
The group went out the next morning and headed to four different blinds, each with their own guides, for a successful hunt.
“I didn’t get a final count of all of the ducks that were taken down, but the pile was pretty big when we came back in,” Rego said. “We were welcome back by Mike making a massive firehouse-style breakfast and even introduced one of the guys to his first taste of scrapple – he was obviously hooked for life.
“For as short of a trip as it was, the event was so impactful to the group that visited. Many were left searching for words to describe Patriot Point, but know that they just felt good while there. I describe it as my Disneyland, because there is something magical about the property and the people that work there. We all look forward to coming back in the future.”
USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore recently hosted three active-duty service members and a few of their family members for a hunting retreat at Patriot Point.
The group included one Army officer, one Marine and one Air Force airman.
“We got there the night before and hung out in the Guest House,” said Kyle Barr, USO-Metro mobile operations and programs specialist. Volunteer coordinator Mike Mattingly “made a great dinner. The next day we went ducking hunting and while the ducks weren’t flying like we wanted them to, everybody went home with at least three breasts of duck.”
Freedom Hunters recently brought two groups of veterans to Patriot Point.
One group included two retired Marines, three Navy veterans, two Army veterans (one who had received a Purple Heart) and another solider who served in the Army National Guard.
“Many warriors have said that having time to spend with fellow vets on a retreat or out in the field, or even enjoying the comraderie and banter of a chilly early morning in a duck blind is better medicine than they could ever receive from the VA,” said Tom Deoudes, regional director for Freedom Hunters. “That being said, there is no place better to get that prescription filled than at Patriot Point.”
The group enjoyed dinner and relaxing by the fire the night before an early-morning duck hunt.
“All went home with plenty of duck for the freezer and a fantastic life’s memory,” Deoudes said. “Best of all, new friendships were made. Freedom Hunters is extremely proud to partner with Patriot Point and the owners and staff, with a common mission to thank and honor all those who have served and sacrificed.”
Similarly, the second group of eight guests also enjoyed dinner and a fire the night before heading out for the hunt at zero-dark-thirty.
“They were up for the challenge and there was a lot of cleaning needed,” Deoudes said.
“What an awesome time!” one of the guests said. “Thank you for all you do for us vets and for Freedom Hunters. It was an opportunity that I’ll reminisce back on for quite a while.”
The Leashes of Valor executive team recently visited Patriot Point, bringing along a few veterans for a duck hunt and a goose hunt, while also helping Patriot Point General Manager Hugh Middleton with a few improvements at the property.
Leashes of Valor provides service dogs for injured veterans.
“We just relaxed and had a great time,” said Leashes of Valor CEO and co-founder Jason Haag, a 13-year Marine Corps veteran. “One of the reasons we went was to talk logistics for a service dog class at Patriot Point in May, when we will have four veterans and four service dogs there.”