July 26th - 27th, 2019
Location: Eleven Mile State Park, Lake George, CO.
Hosted By: River Deep Alliance and SCI HOP
Participants: Operation TBI Freedom & Ft. Carson Warrior Transition Battalion
We had one hundred Veterans, family members, and volunteers gathered at Eleven Mile State Park, with nearly 40 campsites overlooking the lake. We had the Kast King pro staff and their bass boats ready to take people on the lake in search of trout. Kast King is also the group that supplies us with the Anglers of Honor fly rods and River Deep spinning rods. They always go the extra distance to help us. We also had a pontoon boat skippered by Mark Yevoli, who took groups out on the lake for sight seeting and fishing. Chris Dundas did the same with a skiff. The afternoon was spent setting up campsites, getting acquainted, some game playing for the kids, and enjoying the lake and mountains.
Later on in the day everyone gathered at the main campsite for some fantastic barbecue from Roosters Competition BBQ. After dinner we gathered around the campfire for storytelling, fish stories, and marshmallow roasting. It was a great day and we had another fun day planned Sunday, so it was time for everyone to return to their campsites for a good night of sleep.
We woke up with the sun on Sunday morning and had a short drive to the meadow where the Ballooning Society of Pikes Peak had breakfast waiting for us, along with fifteen balloons that took everyone for a ride. It's quite a sight to see the balloons launch, all different sizes, colors, and shapes. You can tell by the smiles after everyone's flight, what an awesome time we all had, not to mention the incredible views of South Park.
With everyone back on the ground, the pilots had another treat planned. It's the 'first-time-in-a-balloon' ritual that involves drinking champagne (or water), out of a cup without using your hands. We were treated to a brief talk on the history of hot air balloons. After that we were treated to barbecue by the Ballooning Society of Pikes Peak, who presented hand made quilts to all of the Veterans. They have been hosting the Celebration of Honor flight for years, and we can't thank them enough for the fantastic job they do honoring our Veterans.
It's been a fantastic weekend, and a big thanks to the many volunteers, organizations and people that made this weekend possible.
River Deep Alliance, President
SCI HOP, VP/Humanitarian Chairman