The Yellow Ribbon Fund (YRF) hosted a hunting trip specifically for military caregivers at Patriot Point along Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Though open to caregivers of all kinds (such as spouses, parents, siblings or friends who are caring for wounded, ill or injured service members), this first of many planned hunts was almost entirely comprised of caregivers who also happen to be the wives of service members receiving medical care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) or Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. They were joined by one male service member who was interested and welcomed by the group for a day away from his medical worries.
“Since our start, the Yellow Ribbon Fund has recognized the critical role that caregivers play in achieving the best possible outcomes for our service members recovering from catastrophic injuries or serious illnesses.” says YRF Deputy Director Gina Harrow, “We also know that caregivers have stressful responsibilities—from keeping track of their loved ones appointments, medications and morale to helping them perform daily tasks—all while juggling finances, jobs, and often caring for children or other family members. Through our Keystone Program, YRF provides unique opportunities like the hunting trips so that caregivers can try new things while developing friendships with other caregivers and experiencing the camaraderie that military members value so highly.”
“I’d definitely do it again,” says Jamie Gould, who was encouraged by her husband, Jared, to attend the duck hunt at the 200+ acre property near Easton, Maryland. Jared was injured abroad when a live round of ammunition exploded near him during a training exercise damaging his hearing and leaving him partially blind. “We started with the clay targets and then worked our way up to the duck shooting,” the mother of three explains, “We learned how to move the guns to track the duck’s flight. Everyone had a great time. I was not surprised that every caregiver was able to shoot accurately since these wonderful women always rise to the challenge in whatever they do in life.