The Military Warriors Support Foundation recently brought a group of eight combat-wounded veterans to Patriot Point as part of its Skills4Life program. The veterans came from across the country – Kansas City, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia and Maryland for a four-day visit that included goose hunting, duck hunting, five-stand shooting and a pool tournament.
“Just the normal winter stuff,” said David Dougherty, director of the MWSF Skills4Life program. “They talk about their stories, who they know, what happened to them.”
One of the guests, a former Navy SEAL, had been to Patriot Point once before, right after an accident that saw him step on an IED and lose both of his legs, Dougherty said. “To see the growth in that young man and him opening up and having fun and communicating with the guys was incredible,” Dougherty said. “You could see he let his guard down probably more than he has in years.”
Jeff Cleland, a Marine veteran, was on his first trip to Patriot Point and left very impressed.
“I get so caught up in life with work and family that I often forget to take care of myself,” Cleland said. “This past week was a reminder of how much I missed being with vets who have similar experiences and Patriot Point was the right mix of relaxing and active. I will be back as many times as they will have me.”
Military Warriors Support Foundation brought two Gold Star Families to Patriot Point this past week, the Dawsons and the Enfingers.
While the weather was rainy, the two mothers and six boys were able to enjoy some Eastern Shore hospitality, including some time on the beach and plenty of crabbing. On one morning, the group hauled in a bushel of crabs that Patriot Point property manager Tim Mitchell steamed for a dinner on the Main House’s lovely screened porch.
The boys also fished from the dock and went on the water, pulling in five striped bass.
“Thank you for a relaxing weekend. God bless you and your family,” Jennifer Enfinger wrote in our guest book.
From the Dawsons: “Thank you for an amazing time! We felt right at home from the time we arrived until the time we left. I wish I could tell you my favorite thing, but we enjoyed everything. This may have been the most relaxing days I’ve ever had on a trip. Can’t thank you enough.”
Here is a first person account from Sgt Reid Erickson, U.S. Army retired, who recently was part of a Military Warriors Support Foundation visit to Patriot Point
As my family and I rolled into Patriot Point we were greeted by Tim who is the property manager and operator. He was full of smiles, as was my family. He showed us around the property and to the Guest House where we would be staying. The Guest House has six bedrooms and five bathrooms; each room has either two queen or full size beds. Plenty of room for all five of us and my service dog Melton. As we settled in James, Laura and Shae pulled in ready for a week of fun and relaxation.
The next day we woke up to James cooking and Tim was ready for the boys to get out to the five-stand and shoot clays. The boys had a blast and did really well hitting their targets. Around 12:30 Tim, James, my boys and myself went out fishing looking for dinner.
Since Tim is a local with a wealth of knowledge it took us no time to put some fish in the boat. Tim knew all the spots for seabass and in four hours we must have caught 60 to 70 fish. We ended up keeping 10 of the big guys for dinner on Thursday.
After we got back we all met up for dinner on the first floor, where there are two bedrooms, a full-size kitchen with a table that seats 10 and a living room with TV and Xbox for the kids. James cooked up dinner and we all went to the beach to relax and watch the beautiful sunset.
The next day we woke up to James cooking breakfast — which was delicious! — and then took a small road trip (about 90 minutes) to Assateague Island. where the surf was big and wild horses walked around freely. It was an absolutely perfect day with new friends and our families. Everyone enjoyed the beach while collecting shells and riding the waves on boogie boards. I managed to lose my sunglasses when I was hit by a wave. Totally worth it lol!
When we got back to Patriot Point, the boys cruised around on the golf cart while everyone got ready for dinner. Now full and sun-soaked we jumped into the water again and watched another beautiful sunset fall on Patriot Point.
On our last day at Patriot Point all the boys woke up and went crabbing right off the shore. Blue crab was our target and once again Tim and his knowledge put us on the crab right away. It was the first time many of us have seen a hookless trout line used to catch crab and man did it work. Tim educated us on how to place the line and then run the line catching crab. There was a science to how to catch them without messing up the trout line and Tim was very patient with all of us as we learned how to get them in the boat. After about eight passes we has a full basket of crab for that evening’s seafood dinner. The day remained easy and relaxing as we cleaned, did laundry and got ready for the next day’s departure. The boys went out to the five-stand again with Tim to get some more trigger time in and the rest of us started to prepare the food for dinner. Pretty sure there was a nap somewhere in between.We walked dinner up to the main lodge where they have pool tables and all sorts of cool stuffed animals to look at. Don and Mamma Shipley came over for dinner and we all sat down to an amazing feast thanks to Tim and James. James made an amazing crawfish etouffee and Tim steamed up the crabs with precision. Everything was so delicious I needed to be rolled back to my bunk. It was a fitting way to end an amazing trip to Patriot Point.