Operation Restored Warrior recently hosted five veterans for a Drop Zone program at Patriot Point. The group included veterans from four branches of service: the Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy, and included one guest who served in the Vietnam War.
“The Operation Restored Warrior team of five worked with these men to reveal and heal from their life and military experiences,” said Timothy Harting, Operation Restored Warrior’s director of drop zone operations.
Freedom Hunters recently hosted a group of 11 veterans, including eight that served in combat. The group arrived on a Sunday night and enjoyed a tasty dinner while enjoying each other’s company. Then it was up early at oh dark thirty for the safety briefing and a duck hunt.
“Patriot Point is a perfect place for veterans to visit and also be able to relax and ease the mind,” said Tom Deoudes, regional director for Freedom Hunters. “It is also an incredible place for duck hunting. When you combine the two with eleven great warriors, you have a fantastic event.
“Hugh and Joy were great hosts and did everything they could to see that all had a wonderful time. Freedom Hunters is always honored to accept Patriot Point’s generous invites. It is ‘the perfect veterans retreat.’ Freedom Hunters couldn’t find a better partner to help to honor and thank the service and sacrifice of our great nation’s military men and women.”
Leashes of Valor recently hosted veteran service members at Patriot Point for a 10-day retreat welcoming new Warrior-Canine teams into its program.
Aaron, an Air Force veteran who deployed seven times to Iraq and Afghanistan and now is a teacher in North Carolina, graduated with his service dog, Gordy. Brian, a Navy veteran from Virginia Beach, graduated with his service dog, Colt.
“Patriot Point plays an integral role in the success of our Warrior-Canine classes,” said Leashes of Valor CEO Jason Haag, who is a retired Marine. “For 10 days, veterans learn to incorporate a service dog into their lives in the hope of returning to a more full and fulfilling life. This is not an easy process. For some, it means facing fears they have spent years avoiding. But waking up each day at Patriot Point in the quiet and solitude this beautiful property provides can make all the difference for our warriors. It’s also a safe, private space to unwind each evening after a rigorous day of training with a service dog. It is truly healing.”
Aaron has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was stationed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, when a plane crashed into the building and sustained a concussion. While on deployment, he regularly heard gunshots whizzing by and later developed bad dreams and nightmares.
“I had social anxiety which turned into mild agoraphobia and hypervigilance,” Aaron said. “I would love to go in and grab groceries or buy a new shirt. But there’s never enough exits. There’s never any type of control for that environment. It overwhelms you.
“A therapist recommended looking into a service dog. Then I met Richard, a Leashes of Valor warrior with similar issues. If not for Richard, I wouldn’t have pursued it. I really owe everything to him. When I got here and met Gordy, everything was moving fast. You think, ‘You’re not ready for this.’ But that’s what you’re here for. Having someone like Gordy who is trained to look for certain things without me ever knowing it, has been 100 percent invaluable. After a few days of training, that team concept really clicked. We’re one unit moving together.”
Three active-duty U.S. Army soldiers recovering in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Soldier Recovery Unit visited Patriot Point earlier this month for a weekday retreat that included a charter fishing outing.
“The service members are so happy to get away from Walter Reed for the day,” said Jenn Trantin, the unit’s recreational therapist. “It is so relaxing for them to get on the boat and cast a line. It doesn’t matter how big the fish are or whether they are biting at all. The peacefulness and serenity of being on the water is so calming and provide a great respite in their recovery.”
When he opened Sea Floor Carpets, Hardwood and More five years ago, Don Robertson established a priority of wanting to give back to the surrounding community near Berlin, Maryland. He would take leftover carpet, bind it and donate it to churches. He gave to causes that supported recovering service members.
This past spring, Robertson added another component to his philanthropy. He wanted to donate $50 from every purchase from March through July, splitting the money between the local humane society and a group that supported recovering service members. Robertson’s good friend John Rego, a U.S. Army veteran who has visited and supported Patriot Point, suggested that Patriot Point would be a good fit.
Business was good. To date, Robertson has donated $6,375 to Patriot Point.
“We were very fortunate and blessed with great sales and the ability to do this,” Robertson said. “I am not military, but my heart goes out to all who are and all who support it.”
A crew from T&G Builders & Custom Design in Berlin, Maryland, has been at Patriot Point recently, providing services to complete general maintenance and improvements on several buildings.
“This area is subject to the harshest environment, with no obstruction from the water,” said T&G Builders Vice President John Rego, who is also a U.S. Army veteran and Airborne Ranger. “We’re looking at areas that have been problematic over the past few years, pulling them apart and correcting them the right way.”
T&G specializes in renovations and building custom homes on the waterfront throughout the coastal region of the Eastern Shore. That experience and knowledge was handy when working at Patriot Point.
“The crew is doing a great job,” Patriot Point General Manager Hugh Middleton said. “They are really keeping things looking great. It is incredibly generous of T&G to continue its support of Patriot Point and help with these projects.”
An active-duty member of the U.S. Marine Corps recently visited Patriot Point with her two sons for a midweek retreat hosted by Hope for the Warriors.
The family enjoyed a peaceful stay and also enjoyed fishing and making smores at a bonfire on the beach.
“She was nominated as a deserving marine who goes above and beyond,” said Jenna McDonald, manager of sports and recreation for Hope for the Warriors. “She’s been working hard and school starts soon so we said, ‘Why don’t you and your boys take a break, reconnect and enjoy the summer?’ “
Three service members from the Walter Reed Soldier Recovery Unit recently visited Patriot Point for a weekday retreat that included a charter fishing outing and some relaxing time on the beach.
“The trip to Patriot Point was so far my best experience since been stationed here at Walter Reed’s SRU,” U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Roy Thompson said. “A day that started out with me been optimistic about whether or not I was going to have fun catching any fish ended with a blast. … We suddenly started catching a lot of fish and everyone was having so much fun. It was just a personal joy for me to see the smiles, encouragement and participation by everyone on the boat.”
Staff Sergeant Thompson also took the opportunity to use his drone and take photos and videos of the trip.
“Please sign me up for futures trips,” he said. “Thanks once again to the [Walter Reed] team for planning these getaways to help myself and others soldiers to relax our minds and not focus so much on the issues that cause us to be here.”
U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Renee Butts was accompanied on the trip by her daughter and two grandchildren. They opted to hang out on the Patriot Point beach instead of going fishing.
“The level of peace and tranquility the time spent there will always remain near and dear to my heart,” Butts said. “I spent time walking along the beach, sitting enjoying the mindful moments the water so perfect. The staff was very welcoming, stayed out of sight just to allow the feeling of being at home in a peaceful environment. The day and the moment meant everything. So, I thank you so much for continuing to allow service members to enjoy so much of this well-needed peaceful and beautiful place.”
USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore recently hosted a group of U.S. Army active-duty service members for a weekend retreat at Patriot Point.
The group included one service-member couple from Fort McNair and another from Fort Belvoir, as well as a nurse from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center accompanied by her aunt and eight-year-old daughter.
The group arrived on Friday and enjoyed a wonderful dinner, then spent Saturday taking in all that Patriot Point has to offer, including kayaking, fishing and crabbing off the pier and the new shooting range, where Patriot Point General Manager Hugh Middleton offered lessons on how to use firearms.
“It’s always nice to learn a little more from a retired Navy SEAL,” said Kyle Barr, Mobile Operations & Programs Manager for USO National Capital District. “It was a really relaxing weekend. Everybody got to much as little or as much as they wanted. It was exactly what they needed.”
Five service members from the Walter Reed Soldier Recovery Unit recently visited Patriot Point for a day trip that included a charter fishing outing.
“We had enlisted to officers, people from all over the United States, even one from Jamaica. We had a really good mix of people who came, from all walks of life,” said Jenn Trantin, the unit’s recreational therapist.
“They loved it,” Trantin said. “Getting time away from Walter Reed is good for the emotional and mental health.”
After the fishing trip, the group enjoyed the Main House at Patriot Point, as the visitors played pinball and arcade games, enjoyed the outdoor decks and found peaceful relaxation time on the beach.
“It was an excellent way to relax and enjoy the outdoors at a well-maintained facility,” U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Devon Poole said. “I would encourage others to attend an outing at Patriot Point and enjoy all they have to offer.”
Relaxing and safe environment to enjoy outdoor recreational activities