Soldiers on Sleds
Let's give the Hero's a week-end of fun!
A typical week-end synopsis of our ride.
We begin by arriving at Camp Shed Horn, which is 13 miles west of Watersmeet Michigan on Route 2. For the last four years Neal and Renee, owners of Northland Docks in Arbor Vitae, WI, have been kind enough to let us use their beautiful resort known as Camp Shed Horn for our weekend Soldiers on Sleds ride. They have also donated the use of a couple of sleds for soldiers to use. After their arrival Friday afternoon, and getting unpacked and settled in, the soldiers will be outfitted with all their new gear. FXR Racing has been very generous to us by supplying the participants with ne snowmobile suits each year. Captain Roger Klein (US Army Retired and a certified snowmobile safety instructor) will conduct a short class on snowmobile safety and operation, after which the soldiers will be venturing out for their first ride,. This ride will take them to the Bear Trap Inn for a traditional Northwoods Friday night fish fry.
They'll be taking their sleds on this short fourteen mile ride for the first time, They will leave when it is still light out, and returning after sun down in the dead of night. This will give them some time to get acclimated to the sleds they'll be using, as well as enjoying a night ride. prior to leaving Camp Shed Horn, Captain Klein will provide them with a short lesson on hand signals, the sled they will be assigned to and safety and operating instructions.
The next morning the soldiers will enjoy breakfast in the cabin cooked by our volunteers, and provided by Trigg's Foods in Eagle River. Sargent First Class Jennifer Driebel, Combat Medic and active member of the Wisconsin National Guard, and Soldiers on Sleds Alumni, has volunteered to be the camp cook this year and will be serving up a hearty breakfast prior to leaving for a day of riding. After breakfast and suiting up in their new snowmobile suits, generously donated by FXR Racing, with helmets provided by some of our donors and sponsors, and their balaclavas and caps donated by Susan Stein, they'll head out and warm up their sleds for the day's activities.This will be a very aggressive ride with nearly a hundred miles on the trails during the day.
The first leg of the trip will be about 35 miles through virgin forests and freshly groomed trails,from Camp Shed Horn to Stillwaters Bar and Grill in Star Lake WI. for lunch. which is provided by Chuck and Karen Altimore, owners of the Stillwaters restaurant. Chuck, and ex-Navy man himself has been doing this ever since the Soldiers on Sleds organization started. Appetizers have been provided by a former waitress Debbie, year after year. It's great that these people put out of themselves to support our troops.
After lunch they'll all head out to Gooch's Bar and Grill in Boulder Junction, WI, which is another 30 to 40 mile ride, where they'll dine for their evening meal, all under and alongside various taxidermy including fish and other wildlife most caught by Gooch himself.
The ride back to the camp for the night is about fifty to sixty miles. It is with almost certainty that everyone will be exhausted from all of the fresh air and hard riding. Usually, when the soldiers return from the day's ride, and put the sleds away, they'll take advantage of the camp's spacious sauna to relieve the aches and pains of their first riding experience. There will be snacks and refreshments provided by Trig's in Eagle River for all to enjoy, and a few games to play for prizes from our sponsors and donors. This is all before retiring for the night. Staff Sargent Cara Butterfield, active Duty Combat Medic and Soldiers on Sleds Alumni is there to assist each individual with any needs they might have. With over 26 years in the Army Cara is well equipped to handle any situation that might come up. Cara also plans and executes all camp activities.
It is usually the smell of fresh coffee, hot bacon and fresh pancakes that wakes them up. It's Sunday morning and SFC Driebel will make another delicious breakfast for the soldiers. After another fantastic breakfast we'll head on out for our last ride. The route we have planned for the morning ride will be from Camp Shed Horn to Bonn Falls, MI, a total of about forty miles round trip. Once the Falls have been toured and the grounds explored, we'll all head back to Camp Shed Horn, pack up, say our goodbyes, and end another memorable Soldiers on Sleds weekend. New friendships will be made, memories will be instilled into the minds of these young people and hopefully continued support of our organization will be ongoing in their future lives. Then we'll start cleaning up and planning for next years ride.
Soldiers on Sleds has a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder awareness goal in mind with our ride. We feel that by placing these combat veterans together in a stress free environment we can get the soldiers to talk among themselves, share experiences and hopefully curb or bring out any PTSD symptoms and direct the soldiers in the right direction for proper treatment. Because of our generous sponsors and patrons we hope to be able to continue this program. The 2018 ride will be our fifth year of doing this and our new ten soldiers this year will bring the number up to fifty soldiers who we have been able to participate in our program. As much as we'd like to expand the program, we are limited to how much we can do at any one time. This is why we are small, help as many as we can, and will continue to do so as long as we can.
If you would like to donate to the Soldiers on Sleds program, we can always use equipment. Soldiers on Sleds can always use gas cards, gift cards, new helmets, gloves, hand warmers, and new snowmobile boots of various sizes. All of our soldiers participate free of charge and pay nothing to ride in our program.
If you haven't made your donation and would like to do so, it's not to late! You can make donations anytime through our Gofundme account.
There is a donation button on the home page of this website, or you can make checks payable to Soldiers on Sleds, or ship items to the following address:
Soldiers on Sleds
1772 Moon Road
St. Germain, WI 54558
Soldiers on Sleds is a 501c3 tax exempt organization and all donations are fully tax deductible.