My name is Will Thompson. I am a combat wounded, medically retired U.S. Army veteran. I am also a chapter commander and Dept of Ohio jr. vice commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
I was invited to go fishing and asked to invite other combat wounded with Walleyes for Wounded Heroes. The event was AMAZING! The cathartic benefits of the event are beyond reproach. The ability for combat veterans to get together to bond and share In camaraderie without feeling judged by others is priceless. The Walleyes for Wounded Heroes goes above and beyond in making the veterans feel welcomed and respected. The atmosphere of the entire event is very relaxed and settling that is very comfortable for me which is very comforting since I have PTSD, TBI and high anxiety. All this was even before we went out fishing! The days we were out on Lake Erie were even better. The accommodations made for physical and medical conditions is great as every effort is given to make sure everyone can participate.
When I was there among my fellow veterans I felt more relaxed and slept better than I have in a long time. My friends and fellow patriots that served in Vietnam were given the welcome home that they never received when they came home and for me to witness the emotions flooding them was overwhelming.
I know that the fishing trip is one the talked about excessively among the veteran community and so many more want to be able to participate as well as the others wanting to return to recapture the feeling again and share it with even more friends.
I can not thank Joe, Tina, and the Walleyes for Wounded Heroes enough because it greatly appreciated what they do.
Yours in service,
Will Thompson (SGT)(USA)(RET)
Jr. Vice Commander
Dept. of Ohio
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Too Whom It Concerns,
I had the privilege to participate in 3 W4WH events. 2 June and 1 Fall event. My first June event I didn’t know what to expect. Another Marine Veteran has told me about your organization and what it is that you all do. When I arrived, I was extremely overwhelmed by the amount of people that where there. Having and dealing with PTS was a challenge but once I got out on the water all of that changed. All the unwanted thoughts went away. I was focused on catching the big one.
Upon returning the second year I was asked how much a skydive demonstration would be and that W4WH would like to bring something different to your event. Since retiring I’ve done a lot with PTS, TBI, Veteran suicide, Purple Hearts and Gold Star Families. I spoke with my boss and got the jump donated with some stipulations of my own. I wanted to bring 1 of the skydivers and a Gold Star Family. When Gold Stars and veterans are around one another a different type of healing takes place. To watch them just for a moment, laugh and smile and let their thoughts and hurt go while on the healing waters of Lake Erie was amazing.
Then came the fall event just last weekend. At the last minute you added a friend of mine who has been home dealing with his dad’s illness. It was a much-needed break for him.
You all are changing the lives of a lot of veterans. I’ve watched the change in the Vets that attend your events. From sitting in their cabin on day one to coming out to the dock to eventually cutting up with other veterans and boat captains that turn into lasting friendships. Because of the number of people that cycle through your program and with you getting ready for the next day or later that night you do not/cannot get to witness these events but they are happening.
Thank you for letting me participate in your events and for letting me bring in people that need to be on the healing waters of Lake Erie.
Samuel D. Deeds
GySgt USMC (Ret)
"There are only two kinds of people who understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."
Gen William Thornson US Army