I have written this entry in my mind numerous times and each time it takes a different turn. With a few days retrospect, I have decided that there has been enough media attention on the tragic accident that took the lives of 4 men and injured many other men and women. We cannot change what happened or the suffering still to be borne by those left behind. One can't make sense of the senseless. So, in tribute to of all the Heroes who have been honored in Midland, I would like to tell you the story behind the story.
About a decade ago, a very caring and generous man was moved to help wounded soldiers. His idea was simple; provide them with a weekend of hunting and a chance to bond with other injured soldiers. I can't even imagine what hoops had to be jumped through to get clearance to take these heroes on a outing, but one very determined man accomplished it. Thus was born, Show of Support's Hunt for Heroes.
This event was embraced and embellished through the years, until it became a well-oiled machine with hundreds of volunteers. Along the way, it was joined by a washboard-stomached Marine Corp General who saw the benefit of this program and has steadfastly stood in support even after his retirement. The public was so stirred by this cause that there was a waiting list to be a rifle presenter to one of the 25 servicemen at the sold-out banquet.
This year, we gathered for dinner Wednesday evening to have a brief meet and greet with the soldiers, marines and airmen before the start of the three days of events. The group was filled with gratitude and excitement. We told our hero and his wife that the weekend's activities were a surprise, but it was going to get better and better. She replied, "It has been so wonderful already. I don't see how it could get any better."
Tragically, there is no good end to this story. Our hero died and his wife went home a widow. It was not what anyone could have envisioned. Our hearts go out to all the families touched by this catastrophe.
Will this also be the death knell for Show of Support? I hope not. We have kept in touch with all our former heroes and they constantly reiterate what a positive impact Hunt for Heroes has had on their lives. Let us fervently hope that in the end, generous men and women doing great things will triumph over this terrible accident.