As always my good friends Matt Amos and Rick Carone have touched my heart in ways I cannot describe.
They never cease to inspire me with all that they do and all that they are. Matt is proof that disability is as much of a mind-set as it is a physical limitation and I thank him for sharing his can do attitude with the world.
Rick Carone armed with the God given talent of leadership and the ability to inspire the hearts of all who meet him. He lives purposefully, passionately taking advantage of opportunities in life to turn his dreams into reality.
Our servicemen and women, like Matt have sacrificed so much and some, their lives so that we have the opportunity to get out and work towards the American Dream. I hope that together, we can help strengthen America and inspire those that may have lost their path and become complacent in life to get out there, serve others and most importantly live the life in a manner that honors those that have given everything. Matt inspires me want to be a better American and I intend to never let him down in that regard.
In the words of Matt Amos:
I continue to be blessed. For those of you who have seen some of the pictures, I just returned from a trip to Chicago. It has taken me a few days to totally process the amount of awesome that took place, and again I've got another LONG post about my experience.
It all started at breakfast on Monday morning. I met up with two great people Kristy Titus and Rick Carone. I've known Kristy for a few years now, we met at a charity sporting clays event, where I totally kicked her butt! Since then, we've become very good friends. She is one of the hardest working people I've ever met, yet always has time to help others. She does it all with grace, and a great attitude, unless she gets "Hangry" (the hungry anger). Kristy is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met. Her knowledge of hunting, fishing, and nutrition is astounding, and one can easily see how she is a pioneer for women in an industry dominated by men. I am constantly learning something new from her, and she is never not full of surprises.
Rick and I met at the Wild Sheep Foundation Wild Sheep Show in Reno earlier this year. Kristy, who knows everybody, made the introduction. Rick is another person I do not believe has a stop button. Rick has a TV show called Sheep Shape, which will air on The Sportsman Channel, where he and others use the outdoors to provide themselves a challenge, and a form of therapy to overcome the various challenges each of them faces. He has such a positive attitude, and I'm still laughing at some of the things he did. He was on the go the entire time I was there, which is absolutely incredible, since just the previous week he had undergone another round of chemo! For those of you who don't know, Rick has stage IV pancreatic cancer, and has been fighting for 2 years and is starting year 3, even though doctors had given him a year. As we all know the Almighty is the ultimate healer, and he continues to use Rick as an example of His power, and Rick continues to fight, never stopping making it look easy, when obviously it's got to be just absolutely draining, and that is a true testament to his character and faith.
Over breakfast Rick came up with the idea to charter a boat the next morning and do some fishing, none of us had any gear, so once we'd finished eating we headed over to Cabela's, where we outfitted ourselves with some awesome rain gear, which will come in handy when I travel to the Yukon later this year!
After our trip to Cabela's, we headed over to watch the Chicago White Sox get in a little batting practice, before their game with the Indians. Rick had set this up as well, since he used to play for the White Sox. We walked down to the field, and as we watched the players bat, up walked fellow Kansan Adam LaRoche! What an awesome guy... and beard! We had a very nice conversation on the field, and when batting practice was over Adam invited me into the clubhouse! Talk about cool! There I am, in the White Sox locker room, hanging with the players before the game! I look around and see all these fresh uniforms hanging on lockers, and wouldn't you know, some of the lockers had hunting bows in them! Totally awesome! From there we went back to the players "kitchen", where we sat and talked about hunting, guns, beards, and beef from E3 Ranch. Definitely one of the coolest experiences I've ever had, and they outfitted me with a players sweatshirt, and fitted hat!
Our seats were behind home plate, and we got to watch a fantastic game, that ended in the White Sox beating the Indians, in extra innings. Great game guys, and thank you for the awesome experience!
After about 3 hours of sleep, we were on our way to Lake Michigan to go do some fishing with Southport Charter Service and because Rick is such a great guy, we got some filming in for CHILI OFF THE GRID! The fishing started slow, but our Captain Arnie Arredondo had us on the fish by mi-morning. I was able to catch my first Coho Salmon and my first Lake Trout! Of course, Kristy had to show me up by catching a 12lb Steelhead. I tried to make a late comeback with a 10lb lake trout, but it was too little too late, and Kristy takes the win.
After cleaning our fish, we head over to a local restaurant right off the dock, where they cooked up the morning's catch. Man, talk about fresh salmon! It was soooo good.
Once, we'd finished eating it was time to hit the road again, and get to an evening dinner with some of Rick's sponsors, and then quickly head over to Cabela's where Rick and Kristy gave an awesome presentation on preparing for your Western hunt. Again, I was able to learn so much from both of them! I even got to meet a fine young man named Kevin Olson, who had driven a few hours to be at the presentation!
Thank you to Kristy, Rick, Adam, Cabela's, the Chicago White Sox, and Capt Arnie! What a fantastic trip!
It has been a crazy busy week, and I am truly blessed to be where I am. It's amazing to me how something as small as 5lbs of homemade explosive, could have such a profoundly positive impact on my life! I am thankful every day, to be exactly where I am, and doing what I'm able to do. God is good!