“Being a part of tradition is certainly not what I expected when I connected with Outdoors for All. That first day with these great people was started by the Physical Health & Wellness of Wounded Warrior Project. I remember the days I came to the brig (Outdoors for All’s office) to borrow the recumbent bike for a day, I was so happy to finally be given a new path and a new way to cope with the daily isolations and constant bombardment of my negative life. I enjoyed smiling again. Being in these circumstances had distracted me for some time away from my PTSD.
The great people of this organization and the ones in WWP have saved me from my own demise, I finally felt like a light was set in the dark of my poor future and I have been given a purpose to re-engage and reconnect with strangers. I struggle from Isolation and anxiety as well as other debilitating symptoms such as excessive alcohol use, insomnia, and paranoia. Being a part of the cycling team was just the greatest thing that has happened to me since my time in the military had ended in 2011 where I ended my contract with the armed forces with an Honorable Discharge.
It has been particularly interesting to hear from my fellow cycling team members about the different things that they do to take care of their mental health. For example, while some members of the team have found that therapy has helped them to stay on top of their emotions, others have found that natural products such as the best CBD oil have allowed them to relax when they start to feel stressed or anxious. I have learned a lot about natural remedies like CBD through the team and for that, I am incredibly grateful. If anything, this has all taught me that being kinder to yourself is all about finding what works for you.
Being deployed and fighting alongside battle buddies was my first greatest experience, names of my buddies I have not forgotten…Fast forward to being re-engaged… I now can remember the Outdoors for All buddies I have worked with to cope with my disability: Alecia McConnell, a great woman who has a passion and genuine desire to help us veterans. She’s always working behind the scenes to make sure veterans are basically happy and taken care of when they come out for an event. Events such as kayaking, indoor rock climbing, snowboarding and skiing, outdoor rock climbing, hiking, and most especially cycling. This organization ROCKS!!!
Shout out to all you Outdoors for All staff and volunteers who I wish to mention and are all in this great light. Thank you so much Alecia, you’ve made it possible for me to cycle independently. The rock-climbing series, Elliot and Jeff, thanks to this organization I now can say that it is in my future interest to do outdoor rock climbing independently too. The skills they taught us are invaluable.
These activities are special to me because I have shared these events with people who are great at what they do and show a genuine interest in providing these services to disabled veterans. I am proud to write this testimony and thank you Jackie for reaching out to me to get my side of the story. . “
-Jesse Palacios, US Army Veteran and Outdoors for All Participant and Volunteer