A worthy mission

“Operation Salmon,” kicked off last week, in Washougal.

This event was organized and led by local resident and military veteran John Kaiser, along with Veteran Outdoors, which is an incredible organization that supports veterans by providing experiences and adventures for them in the outdoors.

As part of the event, 17 men from states including Hawaii, Texas, Oregon, California and Washington traveled to Clark County, many along with their families, to experience fishing in local waterways.

As detailed in an article in today’s Post-Record, the fishing excursions were anything but a simple experience.

For the men involved in this trip, it was a chance to connect with others who have had similar experiences. This includes traumas that occurred during their deployments — situations that most of us couldn’t and wouldn’t ever want to imagine.

Retired Staff Sgt. Chris Byers was among those participating in the Veteran Outdoors fishing trip. He has two below knee amputations as a result of injuries he received in 2012, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan.

“It’s really good to see the guys again. Back then, I was part of a tight knit group,” he said. “There have been a lot of laughs. I think that is the best medicine ever, to be among friends and forget about your problems.”

This sentiment is exactly the feeling that the Veteran Outdoors group aims to create.

According to the non-profit organization’s website, Veteran Outdoors’ mission is to honor veterans’ patriotism and sacrifice by providing hunting, fishing and outdoor related activities. It also aims to raise awareness about the therapeutic effects that being in the outdoors has on their mental and physical disabilities.

Veteran Outdoors and the volunteers who are part of it are providing incredible and meaningful opportunities for the nation’s men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country.