This story was told by Luke Cureton, U.S. Army, during a call with Kappa Sigma, about the impact their donation and support of Warriors & Quiet Waters has had on him. To hear Luke's full story, watch the recording of their Military Heroes Appreciation Month kick-off call.
In 2005, we came across an IED. As I drove past it, the IED went off and I was wounded. Thankfully my injuries did not take me completely out. What I did end up having was neck surgery, a lower back injury, as well as a traumatic brain injury. That eventually led to me being retired out of the military five years later. I just couldn’t stay with it.
The military was everything I wanted. I had planned on staying in the military for 20 years and beyond. And the military took that away when I was injured. One day I was in, and the next day I was out.
There was a huge vacuum I felt in my life. I started to go through a deep depression. My nightmares were more intense. My anxiety was more intense. I started to disassociate from my family and friends. I didn’t find the joys in life that I normally had found. I was a big-time hunter and fisherman before I went to Iraq. And I could hardly get out of bed or put my shoes on without feeling a deep sadness.
In 2016, my wife applied to Warriors & Quiet Waters on my behalf. At this point in time, it was the only opportunity that I had to change what I had going on. I had to do something different because at this point in life I was not doing very well.
The beautiful thing about it is, there were no words that needed to be said about our combat experiences. We already knew that we were all hurting and that we were all in pain when we came to this place.
The thing about fly fishing is that there is an emotional experience that takes place when you catch your first fish. The first fish I caught represented all the mental, physical, social, and intellectual struggles that I suffered from. Once I caught that fish, it was like holding onto the struggle that I have in life – and afterward, I released that fish, I release my struggles back into the waters.
Like Luke, many of our nation’s veterans have made an enduring commitment that will affect them and their families for the rest of their lives. Our commitment has to be no less enduring. If you are considering planned giving, we'd like to share opportunities that will allow you to provide this kind of enduring support to future generations of Warriors who participate in WQW programs — many of which have tax benefits.