Healing Waters: A Retreat for Purple Heart Warriors on Lake Sam Rayburn

WBP Staff Writer Helen Phillips

April 12, 2024

In the tranquil embrace of Lake Sam Rayburn, amidst the whispering pines and shimmering waters, something profound happens. It’s not just about the thrill of the catch; it’s about the healing that takes place, the bonds forged, and the camaraderie rekindled.

For the Purple Heart members of the Warrior Bonfire Program, this retreat is more than just a fishing trip; it’s a journey towards healing and connection. As they cast their lines into the lake, they cast away the burdens of the past, finding solace in the serenity of nature and the company of fellow warriors. Any time combat warriors are together, anxieties lessen, stressors and triggers fade into the backs of their minds, and the protective sense of being on guard takes a bit of a break. The reason, they feel safe, relaxed, and steady. It is a fact that any of those around them will step between them and any pending harm. Couple this with the repetitive cast and reel, and the world melts away.

The Warrior Bonfire Program has been coming to Lake Sam Rayburn for eight years and support by a group of great Americans who provide all the fishing gear, guides for each participant, food, lodging, and a little swag. This retreat wouldn’t be possible without this generous group who understand the power of camaraderie and the healing brought about by fishing.

A heartfelt thank you to Arceneaux Wilson & Cole LLC, 4-Horn Industrial, The Crawfish Hole, LBS BBQ, Lew’s, Echo Maintenance, Rambo Outdoors, Blazer Boats, and all the individuals listed below who selflessly gave their time and resources. Their contributions have made Bonfire #184 LSR Warrior Fishing a beacon of hope and healing for those who have sacrificed so much.

Keestan Cole, Justin Pelitier, Keith Zotzky, Tim Freeman, Taylor Ridgaway, Rowdy Slaughter, Graham Golden, David Gore, Lamar Belcher, Jake LeMoine, Ken Calloway, John Payne, Randy Chizer, Paul Batman, Cory Rambo, and Jared Kinsey.