Ok, I have been thinking how I can put into words the amazing time I had at Strongpoint Theinert Ranch.
First, a little history of STR. “After their son’s death on June 4, 2010, the parents of 1LT Joseph J. Theinert, Dr. Francis “Doc” Kestler and Chrystyna Kestler knew they wanted to continue Joe’s legacy of caring for his platoon. During his deployment in March of 2010, Joe’s primary goal was to bring everyone home safe. While none of Joe’s men were physically injured during their year-long deployment, they lost their leader when Joe was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED).
For the remainder of the deployment the Theinert-Kestler family worried intensely about the men of 2nd Platoon, 1-71 Cavalry, and upon their return to U.S. soil the family insisted to Army Leadership that the entire platoon come to Joe’s hometown, Shelter Island, New York, so that the family could communicate their love and concern for these men.
It was this visit with Joe’s platoon that shaped a lot of our ideas about how important it is for veterans to have time to spend with each other in a relaxed environment, where they can decompress over events they have experienced together or have in common, and heal. Doc and Chrys, having already used the New Mexico property as their own personal retreat, knew that the space would be perfect for veterans, their families, and other Gold Star Families.” (https://www.strongpointtheinert.org/about)
I had the honor and privilege to be asked to go out to this amazing ranch to spend some time with fellow veterans. One of the great things about this was the fact that I did not know anyone there. So I hopped on a plane from Portland Oregon down to Albuquerque New Mexico. Ironically I also flew with another veteran that was attending this camp but we did not talk to each other until we hit the bathroom at Albuquerque. Then on our way to the ranch we stopped had a bite to eat and got to start talking with each other.
Cool thing about Ranch is we got to work on a few different projects that really drew us close to each other physically mentally and emotionally. Clearing some land for future power lines to be ran and then setting up some exercise equipment for future use also.
One of the nights we hike up to the top of chow Mountain and had good old-fashioned barbecue. This is a great time just because we got to talk a little with different people and share different portions of Our Lives. You could really feel the group starting to bond at a very quick rate. Oh yeah one thing on that most of these guys had served together, myself and a couple were The Outsiders.
We did a nice long hike one day. During this time we would take breaks and each person took a turn sharing their story, military experience and life experience. It was amazing to see these grown men open about their lives and how much we really have in common. I was even able to talk about stuff that I hadn’t been able to until this point. Thanks Jimbo for listening.
That night one of you guys there named Casey Ro, who is a therapist, taught us a technique called tapping. It’s an amazing way to help deal with frustration, anger, fear, just the crap a life. For me going over Bridges has always been an issue. With this technique I’ve been able to go over Bridges lately and enjoy them and the amazing views they offer.
So I just want to give a big thank you to STR everything they are doing to help veterans and their families heal.