2017 Winter Retreat
The 2017 UWS Winter Retreat was a massive success even considering a few setbacks. Being our First Retreat we had some logistics issues to work through and we even had a freak cold front come in, but the guys pulled though in military fashion and with a couple of heaters going we were ready to roll.
In 2017 we decided on Fort Parker State Park in Mexia, TX for our retreat and we could not have chosen better. The park is beautiful and they worked with us in many ways. For example, in order to waive our day use fees and give a little back to the Park for hosting us, we agreed to build a 24 foot bridge across a ravine. Little did we know how much of a project that would be and how well it would work to bring Veterans together.
Day 1 was a amazing day. We had four guys show up to setup the cabins and the area, cook a little, and being tearing down the bridge. We were able to knock it out in about a day and had some serious fun doing it.
For the record, grilled Turkey in Burnell’s Spicy Rub is amazing.
During the night of Day 1 we got a call from one of our Participants, Corey Flanagan, that he was bringing two “surprises” for us. Naturally we came up with just about anything but a couple of dogs, but when he pulled up, two adorable pups hopped out of his truck. He had found them on the side of the road and as it was going to get down into the low 20s that night, decided to take them in. He bought them dog beds and flea collars, gave them baths, and even let them sleep in his cabin with him, what a guy.
We naturally adopted them as our Retreat mascots and named them General Patton and General Mattis on the spot.
Day 2 Construction Commences
On Day 2 we got a couple more guys in and set to work. We cut boards to fit, laced bridge I-beam, and set to work laying the bridge floor. Since we spent the previous evening fishing and chowing down, we got a late start, but hey it’s a Retreat right?
Besides, Mattis and Patton slept in, so we didn’t feel too bad.
Day 3, the Red Mist Descends.
During the night on Day 2 we decided that we’d like to be done if possible, so we could have more time for… other activities. Therefore, we designated Day 3 as the day we got it all done, and we set out to do just that, finishing in record time, just in time to go fishing again.
That night we were able to bring everyone into a cabin or two and do some talking about issues facing each other and since everyone was 21 or older, grab a few beers. Burnell got attacked by the dog licks and both the generals claimed a bed with member of their respective service. Mattis went straight for the Marine and Patton went right to the Army guy.
The park Ranger even decided to ambush us as we were eating dinner with the local Reverend that we invited to come out. We got a picture with him though.
Micheal Butler was really excited to be fishing…
What can we say about Day 4? It was the conclusion to an awesome weekend. We cleaned up, went fishing one more time, took a Christmas photo, and headed out till next year.
Can’t build a bridge without an 80s Fixing it up montage.