My name is SSgt Melinda S Smith and I am a wounded warrior in the United States Air Force Reserves. In August 2014 during a deployment to Qatar, my life changed forever, with the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. How would I have known that two years later, from the relationships that came about over the last year prior with Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), that I would have met some of the most amazing people that will forever be in mine and my family’s lives. General West and his wonderful family and the staff at Patriots4 have become a wonderful part of my life.
In November 2016, my girls and I were invited to go hunting with PVA at Patriots4 for a few days in the beginning of deer season. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to do something and interact with my girls as things had been different since I came home. They had a wonderful time and built some new friendships and also learned a lot more about the adaptive world. That was my girls first interaction with another disabled person and to see them interact the way they did was very humbling to me. Only because they have had a lot of difficulty adjusting changes in our household. This really opened their eyes.
It was so relaxing to go and enjoy the evening in the cabin and also to have dinner at the General Store when we returned from hunting and listen to everyone talk about their day. What was most amazing was seeing the ones eyes light up when they got a deer. And Patriots4 was so unbelievably awesome with their hospitality and taking care of everything for us. It was by far going above and beyond and no words could ever express our gratitude. We look forward to visiting and coming back and I share this with my wounded warrior friends. It’s a place that could be just to go get away and forget about everything.