San Diego resident opens ranch for wounded veterans.
For Immediate Release
San Diego, California–December 29, 2010–
While Americans welcome troops home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one man has gone a bit further in honoring the sacrifices made by our warriors.
On July 4, 2010, retired Wall Street executive Bill Cohen, a resident of San Diego County, opened his Howling Wolf Ranch in Livingston, Montana, to recently wounded servicemen. Cohen’s 520-acre ranch serves as a place of rest and recovery for wounded servicemen making the transition to life outside the battlefield.
Helping Our Wounded Warriors
Cohen welcomed three groups of wounded warriors to his Ranch in the summer of 2010. Each group enjoyed a six-day visit, during which they spent time fly fishing, horseback riding, trap shooting, hiking, riding ATVs, playing pool and relaxing at the mountainous ranch. His program draws servicemen from three major military hospitals — Balboa Naval Hospital in California, Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Says Cohen, “I probably get more from the program than they do. The attitude of these men inspires me. Despite fairly serious injuries of all types, they remain resilient in the face of it all.”
Cohen shared one story of resilience:
“There was an Air Force major by the name of Doug Rink. He had lost a leg. When we went horseback riding I was concerned about him but Doug just said, ‘I’m in.'”
“So, we put him on the best horse. I was the front lead. He was behind me. Suddenly I heard, ‘Aww, damn it!’ I looked back and Doug’s prosthetic leg had partially come off. Instead of it turning into a tragedy, everyone laughed. He laughed hardest of all.”
“We stopped, he put his leg back on, and we finished the ride. It was an amazing experience.”
Cohen says the servicemen can be somewhat reserved on arriving at the ranch, but “…once they catch that first fish, I don’t care how old they are, they get excited and everything falls into place.” Though fishing is largely a catch-and-release affair, the warriors can make their catch dinner for the night.
According to those who have visited the Ranch, it is a sorely needed respite after active duty during wartime.
Major Garrick Rard, a U.S. Marine who was recovering in Balboa Naval Hospital prior to visiting the Ranch said, “I can’t remember when I have felt so stress free. I had a wonderful time.”
In another situation, Cohen had taken a visiting group of warriors to the area’s largest local rodeo. All 5,000 in attendance stood and cheered the warriors as their names were announced. “It made them feel their sacrifice was appreciated,” said Cohen.
A History of Giving
Prior to establishing the Howling Wolf Ranch, Cohen–a Cal State Fullerton alumnus who had success on Wall Street–worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation from 1997 to 2003. During that time he brought seriously ill children and their families to enjoy a previously owned ranch located in Whitefish, Montana. Later, when he learned of the large numbers of wounded servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, he opened his Howling Wolf Ranch and began his work helping them.
“There are roughly 20,000 wounded military. So long as this country has wounded warriors, Howling Wolf Ranch will remain open,” says Cohen.
Keeping the Ranch open is expensive and fundraising efforts for 2011 are underway. Cohen hopes to host more groups in the coming year including a group of wheelchair-bound warriors and a group for wounded service women.
Says Cohen, “In 2010, we received a sizable donation from the Nice Guys Foundation, headed by retired Marine Colonel Jack Kelly. They paid for all the Marines who visited. That helped out a lot. We also received a significant donation from an old Wall Street friend. Of course, we welcome donations and volunteers for the coming year.”
To donate, visit http://www.howlingwolfranchfoundation.com.
Howling Wolf Ranch Foundation
Telephone (951) 275-1000
Email [email protected]
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