DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
BURNET — When Kody Wilson led the Heroes on the Water program at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, he witnessed the benefits of putting fishing poles in the hands of service members.
“When you’re out on the water, you have this great chance to just talk and share things you might otherwise not,” he said. “Fishing is just a unique way to relax. It’s a great way to get together with a bunch of other guys and just talk sometimes.”
The former service member spent three years at at the medical center before retiring. It was during his time there that he met Vol Montgomery, the owner of Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, during a Carry the Load event. The two struck up a conversation and then friendship that eventually brought Wilson to the the ranch, which he has been managing for more than a year.
At Reveille Peak Ranch, which has a small private lake, Wilson dreamed of bringing a HOW event and chapter to the area. On Oct. 11-12, he is inviting military veterans for the first official event hosted by the newly minted Heroes on the Water Hill Country Chapter.
“I’m inviting any veterans and their families out for the event,” Wilson said. It’s a free event where veterans and their family members can enjoy a weekend of camping, fishing and lots of other activities. “Usually, an event focuses on fishing, but Vol has been so great about opening the entire ranch to us for the event.”
HOW started in 2007 as a kayak fishing program that gave injured service members and veterans a chance to decompress from the stresses in their lives and the process of recovery. Organizers basically take participants on a guided fishing trip.
Wilson explained that the laid-back fishing atmosphere is beneficial for service members and veterans dealing with injuries and combat-related stress. Often, they find themselves sharing the fishing time with others going through similar situations.
Organizers work with injured service members and veterans to accommodate their needs, so they can get out on the water in kayaks and fish.
The Reveille Peak Ranch event is a family event so veterans and service members can enjoy the weekend with their families as well as build special memories.
“It’s open to any veteran, it doesn’t matter when they served,” Wilson said. “It’s not just for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.”
People can come for a day or the weekend. The ranch is located at 105 CR 114 in Burnet.
“I just want to connect with the Hill Country veteran community,” Wilson said. “Sure, we’ll probably have some guys come up from San Antonio, but I really want to connect with local veterans.”
And this isn’t a one-time event. Wilson said he hopes to host more HOW programs at Reveille Peak Ranch.
People interested in participating, volunteering or supporting the Hill Country chapter should contact Wilson at (512) 755-4417 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to heroesonthewater.org for more information on HOW and the overall program.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do since I came here,” Wilson said about the Reveille Peak Ranch event. “It’s going to be a great weekend.”