28 September 2010

Montana ranch offers wounded warriors a chance to enjoy the outdoors

John Masters smiles as he waits to begin a horseback ride at the Howling Wolf Ranch in Shields Valley, Mont., on Sept. 16. Masters is one of six wounded warriors who spent six days at the ranch. AP photo.

“I’ve got this beautiful place here, why not share it with this great group of guys?”

- Bill Cohen, owner of a 520-acre ranch in Montana

Bill was inspired to share his ranch with wounded warriors after hearing about other similar projects.

“I just knew there was a need out there,” said Cohen, a retired managing director of a Wall Street firm.

Cohen has converted his six-bedroom home into a guest lodge of sorts for servicemen. Groups of six to eight soldiers are invited to enjoy a six-night stay at Cohen’s home and participate in activities such as horseback riding, fly-fishing, ATV riding and trapshooting.

This summer, Cohen hosted three groups of servicemen from major military hospitals at his 520-acre ranch in the Shields Valley.

Last Saturday, the group went out for some target shooting.

“They’re soldiers,” said Ross Colquhoun, who coordinates excursions for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “They enjoy putting a weapon back in their hands.”

Josh Rector, a 20-year-old Missouri Army specialist, has a prosthesis that allows him to operate a firearm after he lost his left hand and lower arm in the gears of a gun turret in Iraq four months ago.

“There’s a way to do everything I did before,” he said. “It’s just different.”

Rector said he grew up in the country, and being on the ranch reminds him of home.

“This trip is great,” Rector said. “I’m going to cry. We don’t want to leave.”

Cohen calls the program a “smashing success.”

“I just want to show them all that we all care,” Cohen said.

Read the whole story here.

1 comment:

Leta said...

My hat is off to Mr. Cohen