Camp Valhalla has been not just exceptional, but life altering. Living here (DFW) can seem like there is no end to a city and the everyday life of traffic and life moving rapidly can overwhelm anyone, especially someone who just got out of the military. Camp Valhalla takes people out into nature and recreates a bond with your brothers that everyone misses from the military. You make connections and realize that there is more than just you. There are people going through what I went through and now I have more people I call my support system. I'm blessed to be part of this camp and calling everyone associated with it family.
My buddy T.J. over in 2-87, our sister battalion, once told me “hahaha, we will just make fun of it till it gets better.” This was for something that was getting me down bad while we were in the Army riding around outside of Fort Drum. In a way this true for military guys. When the times get tough on you in the service and overseas all you can do is make fun of yourself, your brother in arms, and everything till it gets better. In a way, like Chris Kyle said, making fun of each other was like a sign of respect. It is better than codling us or feeling sorry for us. Both T.J. and Kyle said it perfect. Camp Valhalla is that way to deal with that transition from being a trained professional in warfare to being a civilian again. You need to train on being back in a safe zone after training to be the meanest killing machine. This is ok, war is not a natural thing. Humans do not do well with bullets and explosives. Being with likeminded war fighters is calming. Our enemies was no longer McManJams with Jerusalem Cruisers and a talibeard but pigs. They are mean, we are meaner. Maybe dumber because we never found one. To go on a patrol to hunt pigs with 6 of us in this big field was, I am not sure. I cannot describe it and how it helped. You have to go through combat and service for it to have its magic revealed. I was lacing up my boots to go out hunting and it reminded me of lacing them up at 0400 to go out on patrol. It all helps mentally like some medical drugs, we don’t know how it works but we know it works. Checking my weapon to make sure it was good, my mags were full, water was full, and being a medic that we had first aid stuff just helped inside somehow. My fellow warrior healer and now friend Cpl. Casey Henry and I were talking one day a few months before we ETS’d. I asked him, “What do we do about that ‘itch’?” and he said, “Buddy, get yourself a crotch rocket and go 130 mph down the highway, that’ll do it.” So I got an Ace Shadow 750 and took that sucker down the highway going 90, it is a cruiser so it felt like Mach 1 with all the vibrations. Helps with that itch you can’t truly get. Doing Camp Valhalla reminded me of times I do not want to forget. It gave a scratch to that itch. It is something to look forward to. And some warfighters that might be all they have between them and suicide.
What can I say about Camp Valhalla... for veterans returning home with PTSD and TBI issues, the issue is always returning to a state of normalcy. Personally I have had issues connecting with people because most people can't understand what goes on in our heads. Camp Valhalla provided an opportunity for me to be around people that simply understand. It wasn't about the shooting, hiking and all the other activities; as awesome as that was. It was about feeling reconnected. Reconnected to people. Reconnected to life. Reconnected with myself. I didn't have to explain myself, my feelings or my thoughts because everyone already knew. Truly a liberating experience while being extremely therapeutic through the brotherhood that is embedded in the organization. Thank you Camp Valhalla from the bottom of my heart.”