Wounded Warriors make a difference and change a life

Published 11:00pm Saturday, January 18, 2014

Last weekend, Clementine was given the opportunity to play at a wonderful, life-changing event. If you don’t already know, Clementine is mine and my sister’s country/bluegrass duo. The Wounded Warrior Hunt, put on by Woods, Wheels and Water Outdoors is an annual event that enables disabled veterans to hunt deer, hogs and anything else on a Raymond family’s thousands of acres. Some of them were in wheelchairs, some had lost limbs. Chris Patton, founder of WWWO, makes it possible for these wounded warriors to go on a hunt every January for the past six years. Some of them have attended since year one, and some were new this year.

Kallie and I sang at a luncheon last Saturday for the volunteers and the warriors as they came in from the morning hunt. M-4, Brookhaven’s Macedonia Baptist Church’s men’s ministry was a vital part in helping over the weekend, along with many other volunteers. We had fun as our guitar player, Josh Herring, strummed some good country tunes and uplifting songs, but the best part of the day was the banquet that evening at Camp Garaywa. Leading up to the banquet, Clementine took turns with another singer, providing entertainment for the silent auction. Little did we know the impact the banquet would have on us.

After US 96.3 DJ Scott Steele spoke, each warrior was given a Bible and the opportunity to speak. Every one was thankful, and some shared uplifting stories. No, not sad or depressing, but uplifting. Chris Patton shared how one of the Vietnam veterans, in his seventies, “found Jesus in a deer blind” that morning. The veteran had given up on hunting after suffering a stroke that left him bedridden. He became very depressed. His grandson said he taught him how to hunt from his bed. Neither of them ever thought it would be possible to go hunting together. The young man found out about WWWO Wounded Warrior Hunt. His grandfather did not want to go, but thought he would be a burden. His family and a volunteer for the hunt convinced him to go. He got to see his grandson shoot his first deer and found saving grace in Jesus. At the banquet, when asked if he’d like to say anything, the Vietnam vet said from his wheelchair, “Thank you. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus.”

Another inspiring story was told by a young man who served in Special Forces in Iraq. He always thought a bullet would be what killed him, but he came home to wreck his motorcycle and was pronounced dead. They put a white sheet over him and notified his family. He said he could see himself as he hovered above everything. He watched the medical personnel work on him. “I knew I was going to hell,” he said from his wheelchair. Then he saw a light and felt a hand on his shoulder. He heard, “Not done yet.” And he breathed. He then believed that Jesus was alive and now lives his life for Him.

These were just a few of the stories of the disabled veterans. The only tears were those of joy and gratefulness. I was changed and inspired by the testimonies of these men and wanted to share them with you. These men were inspiring, not to mention the volunteers that dedicated their time to help. My husband was one of them. He gave up his weekend to serve these warriors in any way he could. Last Sunday, my daddy preached about service. Jesus washed his disciples feet, and said we should do the same.

May you have a wonderful Sunday and find some way to serve someone today. The Lord is so good to us. May we be good to each other. I will leave you with some of my favorite words, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”

You may write to Jessica Boyd Smith by emailing jessimarie2010@yahoo.com.