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September 27, 2012

Wounded warriors escape to Arizona ‘Portal’

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FH-SV AUSA

War stories abounded over the weekend of Sept. 14 – 16 as four wounded warriors shared their experiences of the Global War on Terrorism and their tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan with several Vietnam veterans as part of the first Wounded Warrior Weekend Getaway, sponsored by the Fort Huachuca-Sierra Vista Chapter of the Association of the United States Army and the Arizona Territorial Chapter of AUSA.

Three members of the warrior transition unit located on Fort Huachuca, and a medically retired wounded warrior from the Phoenix area were treated to a weekend of horseback riding, quad riding, hiking, mini-horse carriage rides and the opportunity to view the stars and sun through specialized telescopes provided by a local astronomer. The action took place at the DD Gamble Guest Lodge and the Hideout Ranch, both located near Portal.

The hosts of DD Gamble Guest Lodge, Tom and Alicia Davidson, prepared the meals and everyone enjoyed sitting down with the hosts and local guests, many of whom were Vietnam veterans. The Davidsons also own miniature horses and gave classes on how to drive a mini horse-drawn carriage, and allowed the guests to help feed their herd of more than 30 mini horses. Craig and Tamara Lawson, owners of the Hideout Ranch, provided a morning of horseback riding that gave the participants a chance to “ride the range.” Astronomers Ray and Dori Brooks shared their specialized telescopes to allow star gazing Saturday night and sun gazing early Sunday morning.

The FH-SV Chapter of AUSA worked with the WTU leadership, sister AUSA chapter leaders, and with the hosts of DD Gamble Guest Lodge and the Hideout Ranch to coordinate this unique weekend getaway. The Lawley Automotive Group provided transportation for the Fort Huachuca wounded warriors, Capt. Anna Patton, Sgt. Laurentin Walker, Spc. Steven Hays and a wounded warrior from Phoenix, Spc. Richard Cruz.

Alicia Davidson, DD Gamble Guest Lodge, said, “We had such a wonderful time with the honored guests,” and she further noted, “I don’t know who had more fun — you folks or us.”

That was the sentiment of Walker and Hays, who commented on the ride back to Fort Huachuca that they had a great time, and asked when we would be doing something like this again. Cruz said he enjoyed the weekend so much he’d like to move to the Portal area so he could enjoy the atmosphere full time.




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