My dear friend, Russ Niedwick was calling from the other side of the globe. It was midnight in Florida and he was still up and working. The question he asked me was layered with all of the un-knowns that can only be answered with questions.. "Hey Homie, What are you doin the week of the 4th of July"?.. "I've got no solid plans. Whats up?" Ya see, Russ and his lovely wife, Nikki Lynn are involved in a few charitable organizations and I have been blessed to be involved with them on several occasions. One of the organizations is a non-profit called Veterans Support fund. Russ and Nikki have been strong supporters of our Veterans and active duty military. From organizing day trips and the Christmas party for the residence of the Daytona Beach Veterans Home to flying concerts for the troops into war zones around the globe. Each time I have been involved with them it has been a blessing to my soul. This phone call was to be the beginning of another amazing experience in my life..
"Don, We don't have time to put together another concert right now but we have been throwing around another idea". Russ went on to tell me that they were planning on Hosting 8 wounded warriors from Ft. Campbell, Ky. for a week long retreat in Aspen, Colorado. What he described to me was an event that would encompass all the possibilities... Then he asked me to help. "Tell me when and where and I'll be there" was my reply. I didn't need to know anything more. I was familiar with the location because that is where Russ and Nikki had gotten married and that is when we filmed part of the TV show "Moonshiners". I have learned that these people don't do anything "half-assed" and I was confident that this event would be EPIC in scope.
*2:15 PM - ARRIVE DENVER
Southwest flight 422 from Nashville
Mike E, Marybeth E, and Jim E- pick up rental van and meet guys at gate.
Drive Denver to Basalt (dinner)
Tim Kieffer meet up w Mike E…
*7:00 PM - DINNER BRICK PONY IN BASALT
202 Midland Ave
Basalt, CO 81621
*9:00 PM - DRIVE TO CABIN - OLD SNOWMASS
Get settled/Unpack/Schedule review
*swag bags in all rooms
*cabin has little or no cell service- but there is a land line. (see cell phone list)
TUESDAY JULY 2ND
*7:00 AM – BREAKFAST AT CABIN (Marybeth)
*8:30 AM - LEAVE CABIN - DRIVE TO GLENWOOD SPRINGS
*10:00 AM – 2:00 PM - RIVER RAFTING/DUCKIES/PADDLEBOARD
Glenwood Adventure Co.
723 Cooper Ave
Glenwood Springs, CO
Dress: bathing suit, shorts, t-shirt, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, flip flops or sneakers, bring a change of dry clothes, towel.
*2:00 PM - 3:30 PM DRIVE BACK TO CABIN
*6:30 PM - LEAVE CABIN DRIVE TO ASPEN
*7:30 PM - 9:30 PM - DINNER AT HICKORY HOUSE IN ASPEN
730 W Main St
Dress: casual- jeans and t-shirt etc…
*9:30 PM - BLUES TRAVELER CONCERT - BELLY UP
10pm- concert starts
450 S Galena St
*12:00 AM - RETURN TO CABIN
WEDNESDAY JULY 3RD
*6:00 AM - BREAKFAST AT CABIN (MARYBETH)
*7:00 AM - LEAVE CABIN DRIVE TO ASPEN
*8:00 AM – 12:00 PM – ASPEN PARAGLIDING
8 am - first 8 people
10 am - second 8 people
426 South Spring Street
(above the butchers block- in Aspen Bike store)
Dress: shorts and t-shirt or athletic gear, sneakers, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, sweatshirt if cold in am.
***MUST HAVE WAIVER FILLED OUT! BRING WITH YOU!!!!
*12 NOON- MEET AT BASE OF GONDOLA
Ride Gondola up to top of Aspen Mountain
Lunch on sundeck/entertainment
*2:00 - 3:00 PM - RETURN TO CABIN
(good time to shoot with TED)
*5:00 PM - DINNER AT CABIN/SNACK
*6:00 PM - DEPART CABIN - DRIVE TO SNOWMASS
*7:00 PM - 9PM SNOWMASS RODEO
2735 Brush Creek Rd
Snowmass village, co
Dress: jeans and t-shirt, boots/hat (if you have them) casual.
*9:00 PM- RETURN TO CABIN
THURSDAY JULY 4TH
*7:00 AM - BREAKFAST AT CABIN
*8:00 AM - DEPART CABIN FOR SNOWMASS
*9:00 AM - 12 NOON - DOWNHILL MOUNTAIN BIKING- SNOWMASS
Four Mountain Sports
45 Village Run Circle
Snowmass Village, CO
(base of Snowmass Mountain at Gondola)
Dress: shorts and t-shirt or athletic attire, sneakers, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen.
***pads and helmets etc.. will be provided.
*MUST SIGN AND BRING WAIVER WITH YOU!!
*12:30 PM - LUNCH WOODY CREEK TAVERN
Woody Creek Tavern
2858 Upper River Rd
Woody Creek, CO
*2:00 PM - RETURN TO CABIN
*6:00 PM - LEAVE CABIN
*7:00 PM - DINNER AT RYNO’S PIES AND PINTS
430 E Cooper Ave
Dress: jeans and t shirt, Bring sweatshirt or jacket for fireworks.
*9:15 PM- FIREWORKS IN ASPEN
FRIDAY JULY 5TH
*7:00 AM - BREAKFAST AT CABIN
*8:00 AM - LEAVE CABIN
*9:00 AM - 12 NOON - SKEET SHOOTING RANGE - BASALT
West on Two Rivers Rd out of Basalt
Turn right on Homestead Dr
Take first left on to Kelly Lake Rd (dirt rd)
Follow up hill to range
Dress: shorts and t shirt, closed toe shoes, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen.
*12 NOON - LUNCH AT SMOKE - WILLITS
241 Harris St
Willits Town Center
*2:30 PM - WOODY CREEK DISTILLERS TOUR/TASTING
Woody Creek Distillers- vodka distillers
60 Sunset Drive
Return to cabin?
Dinner- return to cabin or stay out…
SATURDAY JULY 6TH
*7:30 AM - LEAVE CABIN
*8:30 AM - BREAKFAST IN BASALT - TWO RIVERS CAFÉ
Two Rivers Café
156 Midland Ave
*10AM - 2PM FLY FISHING - BASALT
Frying Pan Anglers
132 Basalt Center Circle
Lunch in coolers, Multiple fly fishing guides provided
Dress: shorts and t-shirt, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, sneakers.
*2:00 PM - RETURN TO CABIN
*7:00 PM - LEAVE CABIN
*8:00 PM - DINNER AT KENICHI IN ASPEN (SUSHI)
533 East Hopkins Ave
Dress: jeans and nicer shirt, shoes.
*10:00 - 11:00 PM - RETURN TO CABIN
SUNDAY JULY 7TH
*7:00 AM - BREAKFAST AT CABIN
*7:45 AM - LEAVE CABIN
*8:15 AM - SERVICE AT MONASTERY (OPTIONAL)
The St. Benedicts Monastery
1012 Monastery Rd
Old Snowmass, CO
(970)279-4400 ext 12
Relax/pack/hike etc at cabin
*1:00 PM - DEPART CABIN FOR DENVER AIRPORT
*7:05 PM - FLIGHT DEPARTS
Southwest flight 3218 to Nashville
*DAILY ACTIVITY AT CABIN WHEN THERE IS TIME
TED NIEDWICK will be holding a shooting competition all week featuring different challenges. When you have down time at the cabin talk with TED about completing your events. We will keep running scores all week for all to see. On Saturday we will award some killer prizes for the winners!
ALL ACTIVITIES ARE OPTIONAL AND IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO SOMETHING ELSE JUST LET US KNOW AND WE WILL MAKE ARRANGEMENTS! THIS WEEK IS FOR YOU GUYS!!!
OH dark thirty..... 01 July 2013.. 8 of our Countries Finest are en route to Nashville International Airport.. They don't know what they have signed up for.. They have been briefed on the itinerary. They know the location. But they have no idea what they are about to encounter... (the thoughts that go threw a mind can sometimes be defeating.. a desire for more information is human. "How can I find comfort in the unknown?") This is a thought that goes threw the mind of every warrior, sense the beginning of time... outside the comfort zone is where we are tested. After landing Denver they are met by Mike and Marybeth. Mike is a Veteran of the Vietnam era and he and his wife are of the Golden type.. I am told that they welcomed our honored guests in such a way that they all were put at ease.. Passenger van. 2.5hrs ride to The Brick Pony in Basalt for Dinner and the meeting of the Honored Guests and their hosts...
We hit it off like it was old friends sharing new stories. There was not a hint of an awkward moment.. Hugs of greetings were the norm and the handshake was not good enough... Dinner was more than food.. As hosts we were able to build the bonds that gave comfort to our guests and there was an ease of conversation that let me know that I was amongst the best of people. Both hosts and guests...
Russ, Nikki and Vail.. The Driving force behind the Non Profit, Veterans Support Fund..
The morning found us gathered on the rivers edge in Glenwood Springs.. The first group activity was to raft the river. It wasn't dangerous. but there was a man in my boat that had served Our Country for over 20 yrs... You can not imagine the conversations that we had,,, And I will not cheapin the moment by trying to explain the exchanges that we had. The moments of my life are pure and I knew this man as Golden...He shared with me his history. His goals. His dreams. His heart. I cared not a bit that we entered the rapids backwards.. truth.
I had the pleasure of meeting a man. He showed me pictures on his phone.. I saw the pictures of the blown up truck that he was driving... it was a war zone.. Blown the fuck up.. After a year and a half he had learned how to laugh... a Lonely survivor. Why was I spared? I can not tell you of the journey that this man has been on. But I can tell you, He is a survivor. I can not share with you the bond that is forged in battle but I can tell you that survivor remorse is a real and demon possessed thing... The cost of war is known.
I kept thinking of the beauty of our surroundings. The horses in the meadows. The flowers in the fields. I have been in the foxholes and I have seen the brutality of the battlefield. I knew that the location could have a healing affect.. The smiles on their faces told me that I was right.
Part of the process is the reintroduction to "public". They will never understand where we have been or what we have seen... "we feel alone"...
I can tell you. without a doubt. John Popper and The Blues Travelers understand the value of those who serve... The venue owner didn't get it but that didn't matter. The band did.. the pictures don't lie..
Here's the deal. This might be abrupt. there is nothing calm about battle.. It's in your face.Right now... It is the character of the American soul that makes the difference. She is a Lieutenant Colonel in charge of getting bullets and meals to the battle field... She has seen things that should never be seen.. Forget the fact that she has been on the fashion runway and has been known as a super model in an earlier life. Her children know her as Mom. Her parents know her as daughter and her neighbors know her as a good person. I know know her as a Patriot and a friend to our Country....
I write of the things that I see and do.. I know that I am blessed by the people that I encounter. There is much wrong with our humanity but I am convinced that there are those amongst us that continue our hope in human race...
When Duty Calls.....