Our dedication to veterans is an experience of love, caring and adventure. We would like to share a few of the testimonials given to us by veterans we have served.
Mark, I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to be able to get out around other veterans and enjoy this wonderful country. I tend to isolate myself from my family and friends and do not get out of the house a lot. And to be honest I almost didn’t make this event due to the anxiety of leaving my comfort zone. But I am so thankful I did. There is something different about being around other veterans who understand the things that go on in my head. Having conversations with guys that I just met and wouldn’t find myself having with people I’ve known for years. Being in the blinds staring out at the amazing scene in front of you really makes you appreciate life and being here to enjoy that life. Watching the different animals move freely and enjoy the fields was something I have never experienced before. Ryan and his wife are amazingly generous people and being able to talk with them over breakfast and see all the amazing antlers and horns was so cool. Mark you are a great guy who has overcome so much and I am really happy we got to spend time together. Thank you for your words of wisdom and weather you know it or not, the encouragement to keep living life for every day to its fullest. I had the opportunity to spend time with Ken also on this trip and he is a wonderful person. We had some really great talks while driving into the hills of Challis and seeing the mountains. Him and his wife are very generous and shared some of their delicious fruit with me on my way home from their trees. I can’t stop snaking on apples now! Thank you Mark and Outdoor Salute to Veterans for everything that you did for my family also by giving me the groceries at the end of the trip...believe it or not that is huge for my family right now and we are immensely thankful. Mostly thanks for the opportunity to go and enjoy this past amazing week with you and Jim, Ken and Kale. I feel truly blessed and honored to have been able to enjoy this experience. You guys are really making a difference in veteran’s lives. Sincerely, Mike B
It was truly an honor to go on the 2018 Challis Elk hunt with Outdoor Salute To Veterans. I commend you and the other volunteers involved in this organization for their commitment in making sure that all the veterans had everything they needed for a successful hunt. From the lodging to the food, I felt as if we were spoiled during our week long trip. Also, the relationships that you have developed in Challis are amazing. We met some incredible people that week such as, Ryan and Susanna who let us hunt on their property, Melissa who let us stay in her Bed and Breakfast, and the locals who talked to us and wanted to help anyway possible. All those folks made us feel right at home. The evening that I shot my elk Jim and I were especially thankful to Ryan and Susanna for coming to help us get her out of the treeline, hung and cut up the next day.
As many veterans do I have daily struggles with different aspects of PTSD. Going out with other veterans and being able to talk with them and share my experiences, as well as listening to theirs, was an amazing feeling. I learned so much from you, Jim, Ken, and Mike. I can only hope that they learned something from me as well as we shared the beauty and tranquility of the outdoors. I cannot say enough about what the week long experience has done for my overall mental state of mind. I came home refreshed from the hunt and ready to accept new challenges in my life.
Thank you again,
Quote: Nature sends my senses into a happy dance. The smell of the different sages, the grasses, the sunshine and fresh air and the rippling of the water under the raft swirled me into a different world of total blissfulness. I felt safe to close my eyes and drink it all in. It brought me to a place of peace and serenity. Being around groups of people is very difficult for me, so to sit around camp after a day on the river to reflect is almost unheard of. I used this time to work on my social skills, or lack thereof, and get to know the people I was spending this wonderful week with and by the end of the trip feeling comfortable enough to want to see them again on some other outdoor adventure. Thank you, Mark Yearsley and all the Outdoor Salute to Veterans crew and all their sponsors for sending me down a new route of river wit a new group of friends.
Quote: First, I was and am very honored that I was chosen and had the amazing opportunity to interact and socialize with fellow veterans in one of my favorite settings, the beautiful outdoors. The opportunity that this provided me to be able to interact with fellow and like minded veterans was irreplaceable. And then to meet and connect with other outdoor enthusiasts that were not veterans was a vital step for me, a step towards being able to connect with others once again. To not be debilitated by the symptoms of anxiety and depression that present themselves from my PTSD. This event and everyone who took part in all aspects of , have emphatically made a positive impact on my life that will continue to encourage and strengthen me for many years to come.
Totems are created to capture the memories, stories and spirits of a person, family or group to ensure that they are not forgotten by future generations. A simple hiking stick became such a totem for me on the final night of an Owyhee River trip. The memories of this trip will be ones I will pass on to other veterans I meet in hopes that they may to be inspired to take the opportunities that are there for them. That they step out of whatever bounds holding them back from testing themselves and find that they are capable of enjoying the pleasures that life holds for them. Mark and his group make it possible for this to happen by making sure that every veteran has the security, support, equipment and encouragement needed to create their own Totems. Thank you, Mark and Outdoor Salute to Veterans for allowing me to relive some of my youth, create new friends and develop lasting memories.
Your Combat Brother, Jerry
Quote: Mark, I just want to thank you so very much for the opportunity to meet with the other veterans and for a week on the river. The rafting trip was epic! Mark, I suffer greatly from PTSD. This trip really helped me more than anyone could ever imagine. I left a lot of luggage in those deep canyons along with tears for our fallen and wounded brothers. Outdoor Salute to Veterans is an amazing organization combined with the Idaho College rafting team. Things could not have been better. Again, I want to tell you how grateful I am to have been chosen to participate in the white-water river rafting trip. This has been a pleasure and a healing process for me.
Jim S, Col, US Army
Quote: I’d Like to send my appreciation to Mark Yearsley and the Outdoor salute to Veterans organization. It provided me the opportunity to shoot an elk that I’ve not had in 30 years. Getting together with other veterans was rewarding for all of us. With Mark at the helm, we all felt the overwhelming support of the community! Mark was focused and very organized. Every veteran had the amazing opportunity to shoot an elk! And I would certainly recommend his program to other veterans!