There are several holidays each calendar year designed to honor our military personnel, both past and present. There’s Memorial Day on the last Monday of May to honor those who sacrificed their lives while serving. There is Armed Forces Day on the third Saturday each May to honor those who are currently serving. And then, of course, there is today, Veterans Day to honor those who have served in the past. Each of these celebratory days is poignant and important and always have our hearts filled with gratitude for all the great men and women who make up our history as America’s freedom defenders.
And while each of these days is an integral part of honor to our nation’s military, we have a personal mission to affect these great men and women in history on a more regular basis. That’s why we formed Warrior Sportsmen Inc and it’s why Nushagak River Adventures Lodge hosts a special event each season on the river.
I was recently asked two good questions about Warrior Sportsmen; Who are they and what do they do? Warrior Sportsmen, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to advance physical and emotional healing, provide camaraderie and mentorship, to help transition warriors from the battlefield or long-term overseas deployments back to life at home, and to help these folks develop fishing and hunting skills for lifelong enjoyment. All of this is specifically for U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers, aka the “Green Berets.”
During July 2022 Nushagak River Adventures Lodge hosted a Warrior Sportsmen team of veteran and active-duty Green Berets for the experience of a lifetime of world-class salmon fishing.
The Warrior Sportsmen Green Berets came from different Special Forces groups from around the United States, so they were each strangers to each other prior to arriving in camp. By the end of the first day in the Alaska wilderness battling Nushagak salmon together, there was a noticeable difference in the Warrior Sportsmen. Years of accumulated stress began slipping away. This was the first time in their lives these Green Berets didn’t have to worry about anything. The Warrior Sportsmen were unwinding in a way they had never experienced before.
Much of this ability for the team to relax can be attributed to the professional and personable guides and staff at Nushagak River Adventures Lodge who worked tirelessly to ensure the experience was beyond memorable. By the end of the trip everyone had made new friends, discovered a new and unique way to “hit the off button” and became reenergized and ready to take on future challenges. Shortly after returning home one of the attending Green Berets commented, “I didn’t know how much I needed this. I didn’t know how disconnected I had become with my family. I’ll never be able to thank Warrior Sportsmen and Nushagak River Adventures Lodge enough for changing my life.”
And that’s exactly why we do this. We wish you all a blessed Veterans Day holiday and thank you for your service.
Doug Frank served in uniform for 38 years, the last 29 years as a Green Beret. He led small teams of Green Berets, served in key and critical staff positions, and advised commanders at all levels within the Special Forces Regiment during peace and war, with overseas deployments. Doug is a life-member of the Special Forces Association and a life-member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He continues enjoying his lifelong passion for the outdoors, and strongly believes that fishing and hunting are viable, sustainable conservation management methods of our natural resources.