(Lysite, WY) – It was a whole community effort last weekend as 21 Veterans were taken out antelope hunting and then celebrated with a community dinner and Quilts of Valor Ceremony at the Lysite Firehall on Saturday.
The Veterans traveled from as far away as Florida for this opportunity to connect with other Veterans, for some of them a once-in-a-lifetime hunt in Wyoming, and enjoy a weekend of small-town community kindness.
“I keep coming to these events for the camaraderie,” explained Veteran and participant Ellison Cribb. “Meeting other vets. Being able to talk to other vets. We kind of gravitate toward one another. We are able to talk about things that I couldn’t talk about with somebody that didn’t serve, and it doesn’t matter what branch. These organizations give us a chance to do that.”
The Veterans spent all day Saturday in the field antelope hunting with their guides.
“It was tough. It was arduous,” shared Veteran and participant Isidoro Castillo. “At the same token, every moment, I wasn’t inside my head. I was here. There are a lot of therapies I’ve been through. I was out of my head, flushing out all of that negative stuff that’s on the reel in my head. My guide and his son were just a blast. It was a tough hunt. We, as veterans, get inside our heads in that we feel like we don’t have a mission. We’re not who we used to be. Mentally and physically, we hurt, and we are aching. It was different today. Today, I was on a mission, which was to enjoy the hunt. I had a blast.”
After a day outside, they were treated to a steak dinner and potluck with the community.
The meat is donated every year by Rex Trumbull of Dinklage Feed Yard, Inc. and Craig Luttrell of Tyson Foods.
Once the Veterans and their guides arrived at the Firehall, along with the landowners who donated their tags, it was time to start grilling.
Immediately following dinner was the Quilts of Valor Ceremony, where members of the local chapter wrapped each Veteran in a quilt of their choosing.
The evening concluded with the auctions, both live and silent, to help raise funds for Vet Healing Adventures to continue providing these experiences for Veterans.
Numerous volunteers, property owners, businesses, and individuals donated time, materials and/or money to make this event possible.