Tenn. (April 28, 2014) – Park Rangers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District and local volunteers from the Lake Cumberland area hosted a
group from the Wounded Warrior Outdoors program for a fishing trip and wild
turkey hunt at the Lake Cumberland State Park today.
Nashville District’s staff members from the Lake Cumberland resource center,
and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources hosted the group of
active duty service members with war wounds the time to relax, set aside the
stresses associated with the every-day labor of physical and mental
“This is a
great trip, I caught a huge fish and shot my first turkey,” said Army Staff
Sgt. Kristian Cedeno from Queens, N.Y.
endured a long road from recovery. He
was injured July 18, 2012 while on patrol, when an improvised explosive device
detonated and he lost his right leg, sustained major muscle damage to his left
leg, fractured his jaw bone, broke six fingers, suffered hearing loss, lost
teeth in the blast and has endured many surgeries since.
the chance to catch fish and turkey hunt is an important part of healing
because it provides encouragement, stability and patience in hopes that he will
return to active duty as a drill sergeant.
Daniel Clark, whose family has hunted around the Lake Cumberland area for
years, set up a hunting blind about a mile off the road inside the Lake
Cumberland Park. He and Cedano walk through the woods and set up. Clark sets out two decoy-wild turkeys
complete with remote control that allows movements from the fake bird. This is supposed to lure the adult turkey
into easing closer to investigate. Clark
uses two bird calls to attract a turkey. He makes the calls. “He’s coming, can you hear him gobble back,”
wait. The turkey approaches from the
distance, stops, spreads his feathers and struts around. Cedano has his 12-gage shotgun aimed in the
ready position at the moment 35-yards away.
Cedano, who served tours as an infantryman,
levels the shotgun toward the shadows.
He squeezes off a shot. Boom! Finding his mark on the first shot, Cedano
pierced the turkey’s neck. The creature
flops over in its tracks and the two men begin to celebrate. “Yes!” said Clark. Cedano has a wide grin on his face. “That’s how it’s done,” said Clark. For a young man who has endured so much over
the last year, this stands as a simple reminder of Cedano’s purpose.
me that I have a lot of life left and I can accomplish almost anything if I
have patience,” said Cedano. “It builds
my morale and confidence, what infantry man would like to keep shooting. Shows
I can still do my job.
“This is an
honor for us to get to do this,” Clark said. “When Kris got his first turkey, I
think it excited me more than it did him and anytime you can help them get
outside, take advantage of the sunshine, and water, that’s a piece of therapy,”
Cumberland Park Rangers Daniel Clark, Marshall Jennings and Tyler Matthews all
said it is very special to interact with the wounded warriors for a week of
fishing and hunting.
five-day taste of freedom is part adventure, part therapy. It was started by Ron Raboud, a Florida
native, businessman and longtime hunter, the non-profit Wounded Warrior
Outdoors has been taking active-duty injured military personnel into the wild
helping service members heal since 2008 with the blessing of medical
“We are very
thankful for the Corps participation and taking the time for us,” said Raboud.
“These are great opportunities for them and hunting and fishing are just the
motivation for them to work hard as they rehabilitate.”
himself is the son of a WWII Army veteran seriously wounded in France and says
the healing comes from when the guys have to get out of their comfort zone,
climb steep inclines, use muscles ordinarily not used, and they’re showing they
can overcome a lot of challenges out in the real world.”
WWI is run solely on passion and private donations. Fifty wounded, but active, members of the
military are selected to participate each year. Our host facilities are of the
highest quality and offer all the comforts of home. WWO also provides complete
outfitting including gear, clothing and field transport. Even taxidermy
services are provided at no charge.
important to the program, Active Duty Warriors in transition are provided with
all the accessibility and equipment necessary to make it an adventure that is
truly memorable and one in which they can participate fully. No matter the
individual’s disability, our focus in on ability and making sure their
adventure becomes the memory of a lifetime.
branches have participated in our program and many relationships with military
hospitals help facilitate WWO programs. It costs about $250,000 a year to put a
handful of adventures like this – turkey hunting in Kentucky, fishing in
Florida, bear-hunting in British Columbia or hunting alligators in
program was specifically founded to provide wounded servicemen and women with
therapeutic outdoor adventures across North America. WWO provides deserving
Active Duty Warriors in transition the opportunity of a lifetime in the
wilderness location of their choice.
touched my life,” said Matthews, “This is my second year and we appreciate
being out here with those who have sacrificed, been wounded, and still give all
of themselves for us and for our freedom,” Matthews said.
hunting and fishing, the wounded warriors expressed their appreciation and
enjoyment of the activities and show of respect they received. They stayed at
the Lake Cumberland State Resort and said they appreciated the Pumpkin Creek
lodge and staff.
it was a group effort of the entire Lake Cumberland community that stepped up
to support the event. The Corps partnered with the Kentucky Department of Fish
and Wildlife Resources Wildlife Resources Agency, friends from the Wolf Creek
Hatchery, the Lake Cumberland State Park Resort for the great food and local
the individual’s disability, Raboud said the WWO focus in on ability and making
sure their adventure becomes the memory of a lifetime and contributes to the
morale and confidence of the service member.
“I had a great time at Lake Cumberland and
this program is helping get me back on my feet on my road to become a drill
sergeant,” said Cedano. “I’m around good people, which keeps feeding me to be
better and that’s all I can ask.”
Warriors Outdoors group attendees include: WWO mentors, Ron Raboud and Jim
Sursely, a U.S. Army Vietnam. U.S. Army Sgt. Kristian Cedeno, U.S. Army Sgt.
Matt Melancon, U.S. Army Maj. Yancy Baer U.S. Marine, Staff Sgt. Phillip
McGill; U.S. Marine, Master Sgt. Blaine Scott and U.S. Marine, Cpl. Ivan Sears
can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on
Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at
Lake Cumberland on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lakecumberland.
information about the group: WoundedWarriorsoutdoors.com