Author Topic: The Washington Event - THE FULL REPORT!!!  (Read 4438 times)

moosenstein

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The Washington Event - THE FULL REPORT!!!
« on: July 16, 2009,23,33:28 »
To recap Wheelers for the Wounded - our event in Washington State was one of many being held throughout the country - where off-road clubs and organizations are honoring the service of our wounded veterans.  The national organizer and founder, Jason Havlik had intended to make it to all events - but had to discontinue his plan due to health problems experienced on the way, and corporate sponsors reneging on their financial commitments - meaning he ran out of funds to continue travelling to all events.

No matter - we had plans, a place, and participants - and so the Washington Event happened over the July 4th weekend.  Base camp was the Sahale Retreat Center - about 10 miles from the trailhead at the Tahuya ORV area.  As the weather was toasty over the 4th, it was welcome to have a nice shady grove for camping, the cool waters of the Tahuya River a short walk away, and great hospitality and meals from the volunteers at the center.  Friday night was a potluck supper that had a great balance of everything needed for a complete meal - followed by a cool evening that provided relief from the day's heat, and a big campfire.

Saturday dawned bright and warm - and after breakfast was downed and lunches were packed - the Quadrapaws 4x4 Club of Region 2 led us to the trail, where we broke into 3 groups.  Having usually visited Tahuya in the rainy season - I was really surprised to see Mud Lake dry as a bone - not a speck of water in it.  To think this is where we usually see some of our club members swimming even with the 40" tires they have on their rigs - was really something.  There were still roots and tight spots on the trails providing challenges, and a few "V'eed" out hill climbs where even my Commando got about 3 feet of air under the front driver's side tire.  But of greatest note were the 2 new hills climbs at "Yellowjacket Saddle."  One was relatively civilized with 2 and 3 man rocks up its length.  I hear tell that Dirtball of the Timber Tamers in his built 1945 military Jeep and Duane Klusman of the El Dorado Dust Devils in his built CJ-7 got up with no cable assist.  I know some other folks made it up with an assist from their winches - among them Mike Jones and Ilene Levering in their CJ's, and even Ed Ducheneau took his life (and his wife) in his hands attempting (and making) the hillclimb in another club member's TJ.   (Ed's was in the shop for repairs.)  What a gambler - you'll see he drove well, as Mary inspected her rig after the climb, and satisfied with its condition upon its return, allowed him to live to wheel another day!  Dirtball tried to get up the other hill with the VW Bug sized rocks in it - and partway up, the sector shaft on his steering box decide to throw in the towel and stop steering.  So that was time for the cable there too - but everyone got back to camp under their own power.  Rick White from Cle Elum was wheeling kinda like he figuratively had 1 locker tied behind his back - since his Jeep was broke - but he and his new wife Kari (hoped I spelled that right) went wheeling in her Liberty.  (I believe he was heard to say, "Give me Liberty, or at least let me sit in a comfy chair and smoke a cigar back at camp......")

Dinner on Saturday was BBQ pork that had been on the smoker much of the day, and other tasty items.  As dinner wound down - I thanked all of our donors, and especially thanked our active and former service personnel and wounded vets who were with us.  One of the volunteers from camp who I know is a Viet Nam vet and involved in Vets affairs said to me that he'd not quite considered before the gravity the following quote - that the vet is a person who wrote a blank check out to the government and people of the United States - to give all they could, including their own life - in service to their country.  How do you adequately say "Thank You" to people who do this?  What words even capture the importance of this work and sacrifice?  I chose to repeat the words of Abraham Lincoln - 187 words he delivered at Gettysburg in November of 1863, as he dedicated the cemetery to the memory of the 160,000 troops that fought for 3 days in July at the Battle of Gettysburg - in which there were about 8,000 men killed, and 50,000 others wounded or missing.
---------------------Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate...we can not consecrate...we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
------------------
These seemed like important words to say on the day we celebrate the birth of our nation.

After the long, hot day on the trail, and bellies full of food - most everyone decided to take their rest early, and turned in as the nearly full moon rose over the meadow filling with mist.  Sunday morning brought first the sounds of bird songs, then the light of dawn, and a hearty breakfast, followed finally with the breaking of camp.

While we did not hear the stories of all the wounded vets there - some experiences were retold.  Rick White, while patrolling at the gate on an "easy day" in Iraq ("easy" meaning they only took mortar shelling twice in one day) had his femur shattered and femoral artery severed by a round discharged at 40 feet from him by another troop who was loading their weapon.  Another wounded vet, Trevor Phillips, related his experience of his Stryker vehicle getting blown up by an IED.  The shrapnel lodged and burned in his upper shoulder, as well as taking off much of his forearm, leaving his hand hanging by only a tendon.  Still conscious - his first action was to pop back up into the machine gun turret to return fire - only to find the turret destroyed.  He popped back down into the vehicle to grab his rifle with his remaining hand - and he got up and returned fire as best he could.  To read these words are compelling.  To hear them told first hand from the person to whom it happened - will touch your soul.  To hear of the problems they experienced while mending, whether physical, or spiritual to the inane political ramifications (Rick having his Purple Heart taken from him, Trevor enduring months of cold water showers, vermin running through the halls and other outrageous conditions while at Walter Reed Medical Center) really underscores the importance of our small gesture of thanks to honor them.

Also in attendance was Jon Shields - a veteran of the Gulf War who was a medic with the Airborne.  His son, Andrew eagerly joined the Army, and was excited to also become a medic in the Airborne same as his dad.  With sadness, I have to tell you that Jon came in memory of his son, as Andrew was killed in action when his Humvee was struck by a mobile IED in Afghanistan in 2008.  Pfc. Andrew J. Shields was 19.  (To learn more about Andrew, please go to http://www.iraqwarheroes.com/shieldsaj.htm )

In all - we had 35 attendees to the event, which included 22 rigs, a number of active and former military personnel, and 5 wounded vets - 2 of whom rode, and 3 who brought their own rigs.  The experiences of those present spanned conflicts of Afghanistan, Iraq, the Gulf War and Viet Nam. 

The event was made possible by the generosity of a lot of folks, and I offer my heartfelt thanks to all donors as follows:

Thanks to the many individual generous anonymous donors from the off-road community - 
Attendees of Trail Jam 2008 who jointly contributed in excess of $5,600. 
Other individuals donated at the Moonshiners 2009 Swap Meet and C.O.R.E. challenge in May, generating almost $100, including the 50/50 pot winner who returned his winnings to support our wounded vets.
PNW Region 1 who early on donated $500.
Also - various Region 1 club representatives (from Dirty 13, White Knuckles, Bull Shifters, Timber Tamers) who staffed the C.O.R.E. Challenge Obstacle Course and donated the $500 C.O.R.E. offered to Region 1 for their help.
And - a BIG THANKS to Olympic 4x4 of Snohomish, WA, who ran the Mud Bog at the C.O.R.E. Challenge - they donated their $500 to WFTW.
Not to be outdone - a thanks also to C.O.R.E. and Sky Valley Towing - who chose to match the above contributions with another $500 to the event.
And - new Region 1 PNW club Rocked and Locked donated $100 to our wounded veterans.

Thanks also to the following private and corporate donations -
Washington Sports Medicine Associates in Kirkland contributed $100.
The following Met Life Home Loan officers offered a portion of their incentive bonuses - Sally Clinch $175; Gail Bean $420; Lynda Myrick $500 (Lynda is now with Evergreen Home Loans.)
Met Life Home Loans as a company also participated with a contribution of $500.
And thanks also to Evergreen Home Loans and President Don Burton, and its generous contribution of $1,500 in support of our wounded veterans.

These donations supported the local Washington State Event.  And - as was our goal - our donations far exceeded our event costs.  The remainder - about $8,500 will be donated to Fisher House - an organization that assists families of wounded veterans by providing low or no cost housing for vets and their families when the vet is receiving health care at a military medical center away from the vet's home.  This donation will be directed to be used at the 2 Fisher House locations in Washington State (Seattle and Ft. Lewis) and will additionally be donated in the memory of Pfc. Andrew J. Shields.

Thank you all who helped make this happen.  May we all remember and be thankful for the service and sacrifice of all of our troops.

Tom James, Timber Tamers

Stuck TJ

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Re: The Washington Event - THE FULL REPORT!!!
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2009,00,28:32 »
Great recap of your event. Hope the Va trail ride can do the same.

Offline jeepinjp

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Re: The Washington Event - THE FULL REPORT!!!
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2009,15,13:44 »
Nice write-up Tom
Job well done....................
911 NEVER FORGET
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JP
`74 CJ5 4" spings SOA 38" Swampers T-18
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"THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR EVIL TO TRIUMPH IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING".--Edmund Burke (1729-97)  NJ Trails Council---Motorized Rep., NOHVCC NJ Partner, NJOHVA NJOHVA VP/ Director of Govt. & Legislative Affairs/Advocacy,  NJJC, AMA, ATVA ,BRC- Board of Directors, XTREME HABITAT, Tread Lightly Master Trainer, ARRA, ATV Safety Institute Liscenced Trainer

Offline jeepinjp

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Re: The Washington Event - THE FULL REPORT!!!
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2009,13,13:30 »
Any pics???
911 NEVER FORGET
Semper Fidelis
JP
`74 CJ5 4" spings SOA 38" Swampers T-18
lock-rite front, lincoln rear
"THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR EVIL TO TRIUMPH IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING".--Edmund Burke (1729-97)  NJ Trails Council---Motorized Rep., NOHVCC NJ Partner, NJOHVA NJOHVA VP/ Director of Govt. & Legislative Affairs/Advocacy,  NJJC, AMA, ATVA ,BRC- Board of Directors, XTREME HABITAT, Tread Lightly Master Trainer, ARRA, ATV Safety Institute Liscenced Trainer