To the Editor:
The purpose of this article is to recognize, compliment, and congratulate the Cumberland Outdoor Club for the superb job they did in having their members host the first ever for Allegany County and Western Maryland Disabled Veterans day of fishing and fun.
This event was held at their very picturesque recreational area near Paw Paw, W.Va.
Having attended this outing, one could not help but be impressed from the onset of entering their facility and seeing over 100 American flags dawning the area to include completely surrounding the fishing arena.
To me, the Cumberland Outdoor Club went above and beyond welcoming these Disabled Veterans where, many of them are hospitalized at the Martinsburg Veterans Medical Center.
It was truly a most delightful scene to watch these patriotic citizens demonstrate their appreciation and gratefulness for these scarred for life soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.
They are most succinctly stated the very essence of what Red, White, and Blue represent and that is freedom and the price paid by these heroes in order for one to live in our country.
All of these Outdoor Club members volunteered their time, effort, equipment, and food to ensure this first ever recognition day went flawlessly. The end result was they responded with a resounding “Mission accomplished.” Their achievement will resonate with them for many years.
On a personal and somewhat emotional note, I had the pleasure to interact and speak with several of these approximately 60 disabled veterans.
Surprisingly, some of them have been at the VA Medical Center for up to 10 years.
The expressions on their faces said it all when they shared gratitude for those who contributed to a day that will be indelibly etched in their minds.
Some of these veterans are without family members and their trauma ranges from physical impediments to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; all of which were incurred from the horrors and ravages of war.
The one thing noted that has never diminished in them was their pride in serving their country.
An accolade of praise should also be accorded to Retired U.S. Army Reserve First Sergeant Ronnie “Bubba” Lewis for the outstanding job he did in coordinating the various and sundry logistical matters in getting these veterans to the recreational site.
Both he and his team went the extra mile to validate their concern and compassion for some of our nations wounded for life veterans.
A heartfelt thanks is further warranted to Squadron 13 of Cumberland's Sons of the American Legion for their voluntary participation.
In closing, may I suggest the next time you see an Outdoor Club member, you thank them for their effort.
To me, they genuinely and most graciously stepped up to the plate at a time when our country and local area could use this needed show and display of patriotism.
They represent the epitome of what our U.S. Armed Forces are all about. They know well that “The nation that forgets its defenders of freedom will itself soon be forgotten,” per President Calvin Coolidge.
Job well done, ODC. Semper Fidelis
Lt. Col. Vic Ryan Jr.
U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)