This weekend was an amazing opportunity to recharge my batteries and meet some really amazing people.
Operation Finally Home has regular retreats for recipients of homes out at Champion Ranch owned by the Wallrath family. Dan Wallrath is the man who created Operation Finally Home and definitely doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
This ranch is located in Centerville Texas, has 6,000 acres, 1,000 cattle, and around 40 horses. Add on top of that a great lake packed with fish. amazing facilities, and 30 acres of peaches in development with plans to expand to 100 acres. it is an absolutely amazing place!
A big group, somewhere around 15 if I had to guess, were invited out to enjoy the ranch, fish, shoot, and spend time socializing. They do family retreats but this time it was just for the guys.
I got a ride with an Army Special Forces guy named John whose family just moved into their new home in San Antonio in June. While in Afghanistan John was shot in the chest and hip and endured more than most people do in an entire lifetime. He was just one guy with an amazing story in a big group of them.
It’s amazing the amount of healing that comes just from sitting around a campfire with a group like this just talking and sharing experiences. Some are funny, some sad, many painful, and unfortunately a lot about mistreatment during recoveries.
All these guys, from all over the world, with different stories and histories, all have one thing in common. they have been given a new lease on life by the amazing people with Operation finally Home. More and more families, all over the world, have had their futures opened and now have the chance to do something amazing.
I was surprised to hear all the plans these guys had now that they have homes and don’t have to worry about mortgage payments. It’s amazing how naturally the attitude of “pay it forward” is adopted by these guys. It was an honor to spend the weekend in the company of heroes.
Friday evening we had some great BBQ and spent most of the night, until around 2am, sitting around talking. The next morning we piled into 7 different boats and got out on the water for some fishing.
I’m terrible at remembering names but there was a guy there who brought us all new fishing poles and tackle boxes that had been donated by Bass Pro. I ended up pulling in 5 or 6 fish that morning. The group ended up pulling in enough fish to feed everyone there that night.
After the sun went down they loaded up some bails of hay on a trailer and we all loaded up, firearms in tow, and helped clear the ranch of rodents. Now I was the only blind guy there so I can guarantee I didn’t hit anything but I had a blast shooting anyway.
Nick, who sat next to me, would just yell out a clock position and I would fire off a few rounds into the brush. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I LOVE to shoot. Add to it the company and you’ve got the makings of a great time. My ears were ringing until I went to bed that night. It was definitely worth it.
I got a ride home Sunday with Nick, whose actually from London and caught a lot of grief for it, who also just received his home in June. He was in the British military first then moved here and joined the Army. Some of the guys were giving him grief and asked if he was tired of playing JV and finally decided to play varsity. I think that “regular” people would be shocked at some of the jokes said out there.
We have all started planning on when we are going to get our families together and plan a reunion trip to the ranch.
It was awesome to spend time with these guys. The folks at Operation Finally Home have changed so many lives and there are people all over the world that will be forever grateful. If your looking for an organization that does amazing things than take a look at OFH. You won’t be disappointed or ever wonder if your support is doing any good.
I want to give my thanks to the Wallrath family as well as the people with Operation Finally Home, and everyone that had a hand in pulling last weekend together. You all have changed my life, my families lives, and the lives of so many others. God bless all of you and keep up the amazing work!