We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for even in the midst of everything going on in our world today. When we think back on where we were last year, for many of us, it is an experience that feels a bit different than it ever has before. COVID-19 has changed our world. But just as it is important to keep things on our horizon to look forward to...so it is also important that we look back on past experiences to draw strength and fortitude for the future.
We recently had an anniversary for a trip that took place in mid July 2019 on Trout Stalker Ranch. We were humbled and thankful to host Mike and Hope Anderson of Texas on a two day fishing retreat. Mike-an Army Veteran of over 20 years and a Veteran of Iraq, came out with his wife Hope to experience the northern New Mexico summer fishing with us.
I first met Mike and Hope on a trip I was guiding in 2017 for our partners at The Reel Life Fly Shop in Santa Fe, NM. We became friends quickly throughout the day as we fished the pristine and clear waters of the Brazos River in northern New Mexico. Mike had been in the Army for over 20 years, served his country in Iraq, and Hope I soon learned, was the cornerstone of his life.
We had conceptualized the opportunity of serving Veterans AND their spouses from the very beginning at AWOL. We understood the incredible impact and importance spouses bring to the equation in a Veterans life. These all-too-often unheralded heroes of our lives hold so much of the key for support, love, and happiness. We wanted to be able to bring the Veteran and their spouse out for the full AWOL experience. Benefiting them both with some much deserved downtime and relaxation, and possibly even, a new lifestyle to chase together.
We flew Mike and Hope into Albuquerque, from there we spent a night at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino-our partners who are kind enough to donate rooms for our overnight travel to Trout Stalker Ranch during these events. We then spent the next two days fishing the gorgeous waters of Trout Stalker Ranch in Chama, NM. Mike and Hope were already two of my favorite people to fish with, and getting to guide them in this capacity meant more to me than I'll probably ever be able to illustrate to them.
The importance of our military spouses can never be overstated. These rocks, cornerstones, lighthouses...shorelines, they are an incredibly impactful part of the equation in a Veterans life, especially post combat. We were honored and thankful to be able to provide these two with what we hope is a lasting and loving contribution to their happiness and future fishing endeavors together ; )
This is something that we want to continue offering our Veterans at AWOL. This, and so many other plans that are coming together for the future. We are still here, we are still lively, and we are still dedicated to our mission. Stay the course AWOL family. We will be back on track soon.