This is being a United States citizen
By Trent Loos
I have been on some emotional trips with the All American Beef Battalion but none tops the one we just completed in Washington, D.C. First of all, thanks to the Cargill Meat folks for creating the opportunity for AABB to partner with them and Safeway for the 21st Annual BBQ Battle on Pennsylvania Avenue.
However, it was the ribeye feed at Walter Reed hospital on a Red Shirt Friday that truly set this one apart from the others. We were able to serve 500 wounded warriors at Walter Reed Hospital. Keep in mind that these young men and women are still in the early stages of healing and rehabilitation. The condition we saw some of these brave heroes in was remarkable.
First, I need to share the one sentiment that jumped out at me most and that was being told that the biggest difference between wars today compared to those in years before such as Vietnam was the medical attention and advancements that have been made on the front lines. Most of these young heroes would have died in earlier military campaigns.
I saw one young man who could only lie down on his stomach and move around on a table type apparatus because he did not have enough of a torso left to sit in a wheelchair. We fed one young man who did not have a single arm or leg left. And we were also reminded that sometimes the individuals who have nothing physically wrong with them face some of the greatest challenges.
I had the great honor of touring the rehabilitation center at Walter Reed Hospital where I met the firearms training/field and stream manager, a great guy named Ross Colquhoun. Ross, who has been doing this for the past seven years, said it was this simple: “I tell all of them, ‘Your success is completely up to you. Give it 2 percent and you will get 2 percent progress. Give it 100 percent and you will get 100 percent.”
The biggest challenge appears to be not what the loss of a limb may cause but rather the mental aspect of how you will take it. I think the truly neat part of this is that Colquhoun and the program get these guys in the right frame of mind so they believe they have just as much or more to offer to society than the rest of us.
They actually have lab exercises with range simulators that test their ability to respond and bring back muscle memory to things like shooting a gun or fishing or skydiving or whatever the case might be.
Once the trials and confidence are back with these wounded men and women are ready to go into the field and hunt or fish. It is all about getting them back into the frame of mind that they can do anything they put their mind to.
Once again the AABB crew, led by Bill Broadie, created an opportunity for some of the unsung heroes of our time to enjoy a thank-you ribeye feed. Most importantly, though, there is absolutely no more humbling experience than to walk and talk with these wounded individuals who seemingly just take it as part of their job.
The All American Beef Battalion has now fed a ribeye to more than 170,000 individuals in five years as well as giving them a handshake of gratitude for what they have done to protect American freedoms and rid human oppression around the world. If you have not assisted, donated or been involved in the past, you are missing out on what being a United States citizen is really all about.
A lot of crazy, negative stuff comes out of the D.C. area these days, but it’s not all bad. Rest assured, these heroes are getting the care they need and deserve and we need to keep sending them our support for the sacrifices they have made for us.
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.