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USO-Metro August Retreat

USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore hosted four active-duty military couples for a retreat at Patriot Point.

The couples began their stay by touring the facility and enjoying lunch, followed by kayaking and paddle boarding.

“They went out far into the water and enjoyed the beautiful weather that day,” said Brittany Buzzutto, USO-Metro’s field operations coordinator. “Many couples found it relaxing to walk along the beach and look at the tiny jellyfish that were floating in the water. The couples also enjoyed walking down the pier and enjoying the view.”

Following dinner, the group gathered on the beach for a bonfire.

“They talked with each other for hours about deployment locations, life with children, and the current state of the world,” Buzzutto said. “They all seemed to have a wonderful time, I wish I would have arranged for them to get to Patriot Point sooner. Things were very relaxing for them!”

Phase II Construction

Phase II of construction at Patriot Point is ongoing, with work focusing on the 1925 Main House Renovation.

Thanks to Pella Mid-Atlantic and the Maryland Building Industry Association’s Home Builders Care Foundation, the exterior doors and windows have been replaced, creating a much more energy-efficient environment.

Also, TW Perry continues to be a tremendous partner of Patriot Point, supplying nearly all of the exterior siding, interior framing, doors and trim material.
Among the other contributors to the project:

  • Mangan and Associates donated the design work.
  • Patriot Point volunteer coordinator Mike Mattingly and his tireless crew have contributed demolition and ongoing assorted skilled labor projects.
  • Shelter Systems provided a structural engineering inspection and materials for repairs.
  • United Rentals and Reliant Drywall donated a lift to install exterior siding and drywall material.
  • Freestate Electric, a Union Sportsman Alliance member, is donating electrical labor, materials and fixtures.
  • Union Sportsman Alliance tradespeople also are donating much of the plumbing labor and material and others are planning further donations, including painting labor.

Patriot Point is currently looking for donations of tile material and carpeting.

“We are incredibly appreciative of the members of the Maryland Building Industry Association and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance for their contributions at Patriot Point,” Military Bowl Foundation President & Executive Director Steve Beck said. “It is heartwarming to know that we have so many partners who share our commitment to providing a first-class retreat for the men and women who serve the nation so selflessly.”

Hope For the Warriors

Hope For the Warriors earlier this month hosted a group of three veterans and their families and friends at Patriot Point.

Ken Sutherby, director, outdoor adventures of Hope for the Warriors, said the group include a husband and wife that were both veterans and their four children; another veteran and his wife; and a third veteran who brought four close friends.

The group enjoyed an early-morning fishing charter (because that’s when the fish were biting) followed by crabbing, which netted a bushel of crabs for dinner that night.

“Everyone had a great time and enjoyed their stay,” Sutherby said. “Patriot Point creates a rare opportunity for veterans and families to enjoy all that the Maryland Eastern Shore has to offer. Guests have amazing lodging on a beautiful property that offers fishing, crabbing, kayaking, paddle boarding or just relaxing on the beach. Patriot Point staff worked tirelessly to ensure that all the veterans enjoyed their stay. This was a much needed retreat for the veterans and their families!”

Military Warriors Support Foundation Independence Day

The Military Warriors Support Foundation brought five veterans and their families to Patriot Point for a weeklong stay over the Independence Day holiday.

“A lot of things we do takes the fathers away,” said David Dougherty, director of the MWSF Skills4Life program. “This year we are focusing on families and keeping them together on the adventure of a lifetime.”

“This place is amazing,” Trent Brining, a Purple Heart Recipient who was joined on the trip by his wife and two children, said early in the visit. “Can’t wait to see what the week holds.”

The group certainly enjoyed its visit, taking in all that Patriot Point has to offer and even making time for a quick visit to Washington, D.C. At Patriot Point, the group enjoyed the beach and hit the water often, hauling in plenty of fish and crabs.

“My kids will talk about this for years,” said Jeff Cleland, a Marine veteran who was joined by his wife and two children on the visit. “My kids have told me stories of catching crabs every night before bed. They are exaggerating the size and amount of crabs caught, but they loved catching what we ate at night.”

Thanks to Joe and Linda Beck, whose generosity made the retreat possible.

Ryan, Mary & Isabelle

Patriot Point recently hosted Ryan, Mary and their daughter Isabelle for a weekend.

Ryan has 18 years of service in the U.S. Army. Most of that time, he has been on active duty and he has been in the West Virginia National Guard since 2014. He served multiple overseas tours and participated in combat operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Ryan was severely injured in a parachuting accident two years ago and assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Belvoir for medical rehab at Walter Reed and Fort Belvoir hospitals. Earlier this month, he was approved for medical retirement, but elected to instead defer the retirement for two years and returned to duty in the National Guard.

“My wife, Mary, and I have each stayed at Patriot Point in the past for different events, but this is the first time we were able to bring our daughter, Isabelle,” Ryan said. “During this visit we enjoyed several exciting activities such as fishing, crabbing and sporting clays.  We also had a great time playing in the sand on the beach and chasing small fish around in the shallow water.

“The housing accommodations were perfect for our family and we took advantage of the big kitchen, board games and terrific (Under Armour Freedom Fitness Center).  We definitely look forward to the next time we visit Patriot Point again.”

Hawthorne Group 2019

Patriot Point recently hosted a group of veteran service members for a relaxing weekend and the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company. The group enjoyed a wonderful time, hitting the water and catching several large fish, popping into the Under Armour Freedom Fitness Center for workouts and much more.

“We would highly recommend the experience to other veterans,” wrote Joseph J. Holliday.

“We had a great time in a great environment where we all were able to get away from all of our troubles for a moment,” wrote Kenny Hawthorne. “Each time I come to Patriot Point, it gives me a chance to regenerate.”

Freedom Hunters

Freedom Hunters recently hosted a group of five decorated combat veterans at Patriot Point. Among the group were:

  • One service member who received a Purple Heart for his injuries
  • A Gold Star brother, whose brother was lost in combat a few years ago
  • A member of the Navy who recovered from injuries at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and is now stationed there until his possible medical retirement
  • A Marine who had worked in communications and had deployed multiple times on Navy ships to assist in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

From Tom Deoudes of Freedom Hunters:

Really, what is not to like about Patriot Point? Every one of our hunts has been as therapeutic and healing as they have been successful in harvest. The young man from Walter Reed had his first taste of waterfowl hunting and he is now an enthusiast. The whole ride back he didn’t stop talking about how great a time he had.

 They all said they enjoyed the time in the goose blind even though there wasn’t a goose to be shot. That is because it is about so much more than just the harvest. They had a fantastic time at the five-stand skeet shooting. [Property manager Tim Mitchell] does a great job making sure they have a full day of activities. For several of them, it was the first time to shoot at a five-stand and they loved it as well.

 After the shoot, most went and had an impromptu diver duck hunt on the shore, while one warrior worked out in the gym and another just sat and relaxed outside. They actually shot one bufflehead but for the warriors it was more about them being together and feeling the bond of working as a team. Most of them miss that feeling.

The goals of Patriot Point and Freedom Hunters are the same. We are both working to heal some of the battle scars and trauma received from military service and to reduce the number of 22 service related suicide deaths a day.  There is no better place to do it than the setting that Patriot Point provides. The warriors enjoyed having a place to sit around and talk at night. They were able to discuss the places they have been and how they may have overlapped on some of their deployments, reminiscing about different bases and even some of the fights they had been in. They enjoyed the group setting, overlooking Slaughters Creek while enjoying breakfast and laughing at Tim’s stories or about who shot what.

There is only one thing they all said they didn’t enjoy and that was that it only lasted two days. One of the warriors said that the “VA doctors ought to prescribe a heavy dose of Patriot Point to all our combat vets”. That is why I say Patriot Point is the total package.

The Link-Up

A U.S. Navy lieutenant and two marines were part of a group that visited Patriot Point this week and enjoyed a hunt.

“It was all of the Kindred Spirits from ages 30-ish to 70 getting along so good and enjoying the wonderful setting and amenities of the Patriot Point,” said Brian Rains of The Link-Up, who brought Navy. Lt. Joe Breen to Patriot Point.  “I’ve hunted with a lot of vets and it always seems they are cut from the same cloth of course, standing in the dawn twilight and listening to the ducks and seeing the light come up. And then to watch them work was a pleasure as well“Upon arriving at Patriot Point our group was welcomed by the guide Tim, who immediately made us feel at home,” Kevin Wilcox shared in an email. He made it a point to show us where everything was and give our group the tour of the property.
“After that we settled into the suites provided to our group and spent the evening watching college football, eating dinner, and sharing war stories. Early in the a.m. we met up again with Tim who then outfitted us with some really nice gear including coffee and donuts.

“From there we headed out to the duck blind where the action started. The hunting was simply phenomenal. All of us got more than our fair share of ducks with plenty of pictures to prove it. After that we saddled up and headed back to the main house for a fantastic breakfast. As a disabled Marine Corps Veteran who struggles with PTSD this was truly something special to go out and participate in.

“Thank you Patriot Point for creating a peaceful environment for your Veterans to come enjoy.”

 

The Mission Continues

Patriot Point recently welcomed the 13-person Program Strategy Team from The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit that provides veterans with opportunities to connect and grow through community impact in under-resourced communities. The Program Strategy Team designs and evaluates the organization’s programs. This week’s retreat focused on the organization’s future growth and plans.

“This was the perfect space for us to have a true team retreat- something we’ve never done before,” said Mary Beth Bruggeman, vice president, program strategy. “We were able to connect to each other in such an authentic way, have fun, and get a ton of work done over the few days that we were there.”

“We spent time talking about some difficult topics on our team — things that could’ve been uncomfortable. But honestly, when you’re looking at the water and seeing an eagle fly overhead, even those conversations become easy and comfortable.”

Bruggeman said that she and her team members were very relaxed and that the retreat enabled The Mission Continues team to come together and set their goals for the next year. The group enjoyed Patriot Point’s beauty and hospitality and team members had a great time crabbing.

“I hope we’ll be able to come back in the near future,” Bruggeman said. “Our team has already said they’d like this to be an annual thing for us, and I couldn’t agree more.”

Kenny Hawthorne

Patriot Point welcomed U.S. Army veteran Kenny Hawthorne for a visit this past weekend. Hawthorne, who served in the Gulf War and is 100 percent disabled, was joined by one of his daughters and her friend.

“We had the time of our lives,” Hawthorne said. “Patriot Point is the best. It helped me with my war-related PTSD, as I was able to relax and focus on fishing and shooting.”

Led by Patriot Point property manager Tim Mitchell, the group caught 60 fish and enjoyed skeet shooting. They also took a trip to visit the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cambridge.

“We were so excited about fishing on the water,” Hawthorne said. “It is an experience that will stay for us forever. It was the first time shooting for the girls. They are still talking about skeet shooting and now have the respect of shooting a rifle.