Having just finished a powerful week at Outdoor Odyssey serving wounded veterans in what is known as our Semper Fi Odyssey program, I feel very blessed to serve at a site that seeks to help those who have sacrificed almost everything but their lives for our freedom.
Thirty-eight veterans who were sent back to the States after suffering various injuries came to Outdoor Odyssey to partake in a week-long transition assistance program for vets returning to civilian life. Some were amputees, some burned, many others suffered from traumatic brain injury-but all of these men had lost so much in the line of duty and were looking for something to hold onto, something that could bring order and peace back to their battered lives.
General Jones brought in his team leaders whom have participated in numerous Semper Fi weeks on camp, as well as yoga instructors, other veterans, and business leaders to guide these men through a week centered around finding mindfulness and purpose in the day to day life. I spent much of my time facilitating our high adventure activities for those up for the challenge, and was able to witness firsthand the impact that our program can provide. Some of these guys arrived with staunch frowns on their faces, uncertain of what was coming or why they were even here, but by the end of the week, they had formed new bonds with men facing similar tribulations, and they were all jokes and smiles by the time I drove them back to the Pittsburgh airport. It was only one week, but I could see plainly that it represented a turning point in the lives of many of those men. They left with purpose, with peace, and friends.
Spencer Hill PMSC AmeriCorps Member
Outdoor Odyssey at Roaring Run