Welcome Home 2015 OFB Healing Journey Combat Veterans!
Thank you to all of the individuals and companies who donated the funds necessary to allow this year's journey to take place...
Stay tuned for many more photos and stories about this year's amazing journey to Washington DC!
“Thank you and the staff for one amazing trip. I know things are going to be better from now on not just me but for my wife also. We have found out what a great relationship that we have, again thank you.” Respectfully, Jerry
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to participate in the 28th Healing Journey of Operation Freedom Bird!!! I slept 9 hours last night without waking and without having night mares/terrors! I felt awesome waking this morning!!! I have not slept that long in probably 20 years. THANK YOU! To all of you wonderful, kind-hearted, warm-souled, beautiful Warriors and Staff!!! I could not have done this healing journey without your unconditional love and understanding and trust!!! May your light and spark continue to grow stronger as you continue your healing journey! Call or text me is you ever need help from a battle buddy!!!” Annie
“I am still blown away from the powerful experience I had with all my brothers and sisters. Being deployed twice to Iraq from 2004 - 2005 and again in 2009 - 2010 was a living Hell. Spending four days with my Vietnam Brothers, and seeing all the emotions at the Wall was very moving, and healing. It was very hard to keep the tears from flowing every day. The Chapel at the Pentagon and the Memorial they have outside where the plane crashed through took my breath away. As well as Arlington, and seeing the Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed.” John
“I will never be able to repay you for all you have done for me and group 28. Just want you to know how special you are to me and the rest of the group.” Jim
“THANK YOU, THANK YOU! There certainly are not enough words to say how I now feel about all you wonderful and sincere Sisters, Brothers, Bentley and the STAFF. I slept for 9 straight hours and that has not happened since coming back home from VN. All of you are and will be in my heart forever. All of those "Bear Hugs" from you fellow Veterans really means so much more now and going forward with my life! THANK YOU, THANK YOU!” Crayton
“Hi My Fellow Battle Buddies, this was an amazing and powerful thank you. Beautifully written and expressed from the bottom of your heart. I totally agree with your comments and so thankful that I went after resisting last year. My psychologist also made this happen for me. I’m very happy that I took this healing journey with all of you. I agree, we definitely made new friends and battle buddies we can depend on for support when needed. The journey made me realize I was not alone, that it’s okay to cry and let it out. I listened to each of you and saw and felt the pain for all of you. I will never forget this trip and hopefully begin the healing journey needed to put some pain & suffering to rest. This was my first visit to the Wall. It was very difficult and emotional, but the power of the Wall and the Magic it holds was definitely felt by me. On the way to the Wall I saw a lone Vietnam Vet sitting on a bench eating a sandwich. I felt that I knew him, he had the 101st Airborne patch, LZ Sally emblem on his jacket. I was pulled to him, asked him when and where he served, it was the same time period, LZ Sally, 502nd, and said he was one of the first companies to set up LZ Sally. HIs name was Spinally, a name I recognized, but had forgotten. It was amazing, we shook hands, told him I will return after visiting the Wall. It was very difficult approaching the wall. I had difficulty finding the panel for the 101st Airborne Division, 2nd Brigade, 502nd Company during 1968-1969. I saw red roses next to a panel that drew me to it. It was the 101st Airborne panel, the roses had five screaming eagle banners on them with the 5 names of the soldiers killed and names on the Wall. i read them, 3 of the 5 I recognized and completely broke down. I could not remember names, but just that visit and the vet eating lunch appeared before me and I remembered them. Oh My God! I knelt there and cried profusely, said a prayer and returned to the bench, but my fellow soldier, the Vet eating lunch was gone, nowhere in sight, almost as if he was there to show me the way. My hats off to the staff and all those involved in Operation Freedom Bird. You did a great job! Many thanks for all you did to make this journey successful. Everyone take care! I wish the best to all of you.” Rich
“Gentlemen and MOST Wonderful ladies; I hate hats! I hate pins and badges! and, you might know that I'm not real fond of being thanked for my service! Believe it or not there are some things I like. After our trip I've become awful fond of good people trying to cooperate and support one another. Amazing how we who have been through so much can have an unlimited capacity for consideration. I'm trying to pass that on to the uncivil civilians I cross paths with, and trying to lose some of the anger for their lack of responsible behavior. I thought I would not be accepted by any of you for the sin of being an officer. Damn was I wrong. First time in a lot of years that everyone around me behaved like descent humans. Life can be good if we just try. I'll save the "GFY's" for those who don't understand. Love and Thanks to all the Staff and the rest of you BOZOs .” Kim
Thank you [to all] of the Miracle Workers at every level, in front of us and behind the scenes who set this up; qualified us; looked after every detail; and made this wonderful healing experience happen. We are forever grateful to all of you.” Gale
I was very honored to be asked to go on the 2015 OFB this year. We went to many places in DC. The one that meant the most to me was Walter Reed Hospital. We entered through a long hall with many doors each had a name on it. I new that each door housed a wounded vet inside. We went to a café to meet the Vets in the hospital, there I became very overwhelmed and went to sit myself in the hall. Where I met many people . A lady stopped by and asked about OFB I told her and she left, next a staff member sat down and we talkedas she asked vets to go inside to talk to our group a young man stopped and was ask to go inside he said that he had his retirement party to go to in ten minutes and left, he came back and asked me to come to his retirement. Six of our group went upstairs I was not prepared for what we were going see. This young Vet was just in his twenties and was getting a medical discharge . The lady that I meet in the hallway was his new stepmom and was taking him to his new home. He asked for someone to take pictures so he could remember us. One of our staff took the pictures for him, at that time his new mom ask if anyone hada challenge coin. Our OFBstaff person had one and gave it to him which made his new mom very happy. So, my need to spend time alone became one of the most memorable times that I hadinDC . Jerry
“Good morning everyone, thank you to Pat and Annette and to the entire staff for an amazing 4 days. I can't thank you enough for the help and support received during Operation Freedom Bird. I felt the strength and power of you as a group from the first walk through Sky Harbor to The Wall, Arlington, The Pentagon, Marine Corp Celebration, and Walter Reed. I anticipated breaking down and just being an emotional mess, looking around, I felt your presence which gave me the strength to hold my head up high and make it through. Thank You ! Now is the time to continue to process and continue to heal. I think there is hope. Thank you everyone Staff and Vets.” George
“I wanted to thank everyone for all your help, support, and trust as we ventured through this journey together. There aren't enough words to express my heartfelt appreciation for the experience I shared with all of you, my brothers and sisters. I will be eternally grateful to all of you.” Lee
“What an outstanding team… helpful and genuinely thoughtful. I appreciated their respectful approach while managing a large group and a full schedule. Many thanks to Pat Lynch, Ted, Travis, Danny and Tom. I especially appreciated Annette Hill. She's a skillful councilor. She set the tone, kept the group on point and created a non-threatening environment. Her style encouraged us to open up and reap the benefits of a positive group experience. Many Thanks, John - (Heroes don't wear capes, they wear dog tags...OOH RAH!)