Once again the AED Superstore Grant selection committee had a very difficult time selecting just one recipient of our $2000 AED Grant. With that grant they were able to purchase a ZOLL AED Plus value package and a first aid kit. All of our applicants had a need and a story, and it came down to three very worthy organizations. In the end, we chose a place whose mission and vision statements say it all:
Mission: To create a place of tranquility, relaxation, learning, and rebuilding for our veterans and first responders; a retreat for life, love, and respect to promote healing.
Vision: At Camp4Heroes, we understand the difficulties of readjusting to civilian life after leading and leaving a life of service to our country. Camp4Heroes is a place for our heroes to repurpose their lives in any way that they choose at our beautiful and serene compound by enjoying various activities, learning new trades, and engaging in fellowship with others who understand and want to help with the difficulties and hardships of readjustment to civilian life.
Camp4Heroes was started by a man with quite a story and quite a life:
Captain John “Woody” Woodall is a retired Fire Captain from Raleigh N.C. He was the Chief of Operations with the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Foundation from Feb. 2000 until Feb. 2011 and the official liaison from N.C. to New York after Sept. 11, 2001. During this time the firefighters of NC collected over $7,500,000 for the families of 9-11. To date, Captain Woody has traveled to New York 207 times since 9-11. Captain Woody is the President of Camp4Heroes, Inc. and, along with FDNY Fire Family Transport, and Adopt-A-Soldier Platoon, hosts a very large Christmas Party and Super Bowl party at Walter Reed each year. Captain Woody is also an Ambassador for The Gary Sinise Foundation. He believes that we are here to serve those that have sacrificed so much and served us by keeping our great nation free.
Captain Woody is an Elvis tribute artist and has entertained the families of 9-11 at Shea Stadium in New York on Family Day, wounded vets and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital, opened for Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band on numerous occasions, and traveled to Afghanistan in January 2014 and performed 12 shows for the troops.
Captain Woody is also an artist and has paintings across the country and one hanging at Walter Reed National Military Hospital. Two of his paintings have sold for $100,000 each and 100% of the money went to help wounded veterans. He got back into art after he was in an explosion that left him in respiratory therapy for over a year. He was diagnosed with PTSD in June of 2007. Art has been a lifesaver for him and he has worked tirelessly to assist in any way to help our severely wounded vets.
In working with wounded veterans for 16 years, Captain Woody realized that recognizing where they are in their journey to rebuild their lives and providing a sanctuary of tranquility, understanding, and respect was one of the best ways to make a difference. 20-25 Veterans and 11-15 First Responders take their lives every day. Through interventions and working together, having someone to talk to that really understands, and showing them that they do have something to offer coming back into society is what really makes the difference. This realization gave birth to Camp4Heroes. It offers them a place of peace, tranquility, and purpose.
A 184 acre retreat in Robeson County, North Carolina, Camp4Heroes already has recreational and learning activities including fishing, hunting, archery, painting, mosaics, cooking, knife making, leather working, welding, blacksmithing, animal therapy and so much more. They have plans to expand and add a new wellness center which will include meeting rooms, a commercial kitchen, an art studio, exercise therapy and fitness, as well as a library and quiet area. They are also adding a non-denominational chapel near the 10-acre lake. We encourage you to visit their webpage and make a donation if you feel moved to do so. www.camp4heroes.org