As big an honor it is to be invited on the Outdoor Legends Tour to meet and greet U.S. troops in Southwest Asia this spring, it’s also a big responsibility. Our role is to bring smiles to the faces of folks who have been away from home for a long time, and might be for a good while longer. We want them to know that we're thinking of them back home, and will welcome them back not only to daily life, but to the woods and waters when they are ready. We’re there to rekindle fond memories of hunting and fishing with family and friends.
The last thing I want to do is be a “downer” for these people who are giving so much, so I’m worried about two things: The first is that I’ll break up every time I talk to someone; just writing this puts a lump at the back of my throat and a little burn in the corner of my eyes. The second is that I won’t have anything to say; “Thank you” just sounds so feeble in appreciation for the magnitude of effort and sacrifice that these men and women put forth every day.
Then I remembered a former pastor from the church at which my wife and I are members—he was an Army chaplain who spent a good bit of time in the Middle East. I contacted him for advice. He graciously responded with counsel on preparing physically, mentally and spiritually for the Tour. His advice has already been a huge help.
Thinking again about what to say to the troops, I had an epiphany: Why not ask NAHC members directly what messages you want me to take to the troops? Seeing as we’ll be there representing America’s hunters and fishermen, as well as the outdoor industry, it makes perfect sense that the messages come from you!
Please leave comments below this post. I’ll print them out and put them in my pack to distribute on the Tour. I’ll be proud to share your well-wishes on behalf of the NAHC.