This was a message that was posted by Dan Engerran, one of our board members and past president from one of our veterans. Those of us that have been involved in this are familiar with this type of story from our participants. Maybe we inspire someone like this veteran to become part of the wheeling community to help in his healing process or maybe the person comes to the realization that people out here really care, appreciate and love them for what they have sacrificed so that that can continue to improve their condition. No matter, if we can help that one individual or family it makes it all worthwhile.
I am going to post this but keep it anonymous. It was recommendation letter written by a past participant. When we receive things like this we do not always have the permission to share them. I really want to share this with you guys. I know sometimes it seems like we are just out having fun on our own, I know I enjoy it so much sometimes it just seems like fun event to put on. Letters like this are truly grounding. It proves that we really do make a difference, maybe not to all, but that one person at each event makes it all worthwhile.
I just wanted to share how Wheelers for The Wounded helped change my life in so many positive ways and why I support it. A few years ago I was struggling with my combat related injuries both physical and mental. I was also struggling to find a group of veterans that shared the same hobbies and was looking for excitement like the kind we were exposed to in the military. I was a Tanker in the Army for 8 years before being injured by enemy fire during my second tour in the Middle East. My job consisted of operating a 22 ton tank. This thing was a beast and the meanest coolest vehicle America’s Defense has to date.
There was not a lot of options out there to fill that excitement as you can imagine returning back to the states. I was at a Veteran event and heard about this group of folks that does wonderful things for disabled Veterans coming back home broken and lost. I looked on the group Facebook pages and was amazed at what I saw! It looked like everything I was searching for but felt like I would never find again!
So, I sent an email out to see if I could come to the next WFTW Event being set up that May, at Hidden Falls Adventure Park. I was immediately welcomed with open arms by the most wonderful people I have ever met. I was floored by how I melded right into this. I still thank God all the time that I got off the couch and forced myself to drive there as all I wanted to do at that time was numb my pains. I was also raising a family, broke, lost, and depressed.
I drove out that morning into the beautiful hill country of Central Texas knowing already this decision and Group may very well change my life forever. I told everyone close to me and couldn’t put down the phone that day.
Upon arriving in my little car, I saw a wonderful park and huge tents with banners everywhere. I was so excited I didn’t even hear my car scraping along the rocky and dusty road up to the Event. Once again, I was floored at all of fully built, tricked out Jeeps, Clubs, and disabled Vets walking around. Many with injuries you might expect. I soon met Daniel, a volunteer and now a board member. He guided me to go on a trail ride with one of his good buddies. It was amazing when they tossed me the keys and asked if I wanted to drive. We had a saying, “Shock and Awe” in the Army and that’s what it was like. Long story short I swore to myself that day I was selling my car and buying a Jeep as soon possible. We all became friends and still are to this day. I met many other people that day, and at the following events since. They have touched me deeply. I am still amazed by the effort and time they put into helping veterans and their families have fun when they are in a time of such pain and struggle.
Early 2016 I purchased my own Jeep and immediately told Daniel about it. He was at a Jeep off-road park and asked if I wanted to bring it out to meet him. I said I was on the way but it was less then 24 hours old. I trust Daniel so much I did it without a second thought. He really knows his stuff so I knew I was in good hands. Packed up the kids and headed out. We went thru a few trails and nothing even came out with a scratch. My kids 12 and 14 said doing these Jeep events is the coolest thing they are a part of all year. My heart and thanks will always go out to WFTW and I will always be grateful to them.
President, WFTW – Texas