A 'Grateful Nation' Honors our Heroes
While in New York at the Crossing of America event aboard the USS Intrepid, Sept. 8, 2011, I had the honor of meeting CMOH recipient SFC Leroy Petry. He epitomized the first stanza of the Ranger Creed:
"Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment."
Wile deployed on active duty, Ranger Petry was shot through both thighs and lost his right hand after picking up an enemy grenade that landed near his fellow Rangers and throwing it away.
His courage under fire, calm leadership and intestinal fortitude is indicative of the men I have had the honor of hosting on Orion Multimedia's "Grateful Nation," aired on Outdoor Channel.
Hosting "Grateful Nation" has made me a better man by witnessing the indomitable spirit of these brave service men.
Mike Day (left), Tim Abell, Lt. Dan Cnossen
Take for example Navy Lt. Dan Cnossen; he lost both of his legs while deployed with his SEAL team in Afghanistan. Yet, he continues to compete in biathlons and triathlons, still enjoys hunting and remains in the Navy.
And like Senior Chief Mike Day (Ret), who was shot 27 times in a firefight outside of Falluja. He found new love, respect and appreciation for his family who had endured his long deployments and training evolutions. His family almost lost him for good.
All the servicemen I’ve hosted on "Grateful Nation" have survived the pain and darkness of injury and recovery, and have emerged into the light and love of the world. A world that wants to thank them for their service and sacrifice.
SFC Greg Stube (left), CMOH recipient Sammy Davis Jr. (Army ret) and Tim Abell at the NRA Convention.
Enjoying the outdoors has played a major part in the rehabilitation of many of our wounded veterans and active service men and women. While interviewing Special Forces SFC Greg Stube, in the beautiful British Columbia Rockies on a moose hunt, I referred to Greg as a hero. He looked at me and said," Tim, we don’t want to be heroes. We are just doing our job. We just want to come home and be one of you. This is what I was fighting for all along.”
Knowing the great pain, due to war injuries, that Greg had to endure during the long horseback ride up the mountain, I never once heard him complain. Rather, he had a serene smile on his face. A smile that said he was grateful to be alive and have the ability to ride a horse. Grateful to be able to enjoy the beautiful snow capped mountains while moose and mule deer hunting. Most of all, he was grateful for the camaraderie and to be an American.
As a former 2/75th Ranger, I am very grateful to be involved with such fine programming as “Grateful Nation" and to have the opportunity to spend time with such outstanding individuals. Each of them are heroes to me.
The fifth stanza of the Ranger Creed is:
"Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor."
Each of the warriors I’ve had the honor of spending time afield with on "Grateful Nation" have displayed this outstanding quality.