Base Camp Hope’s 2nd Annual No FireWorks 4th of July was an amazing, we had 18 Veterans and family members in attendance, there was great fellowship, plenty of food, good music, some great canoeing and kayaking, and NO FIREWORKS. We did have a nautical adventure, the report follow.

Hope to see you next year.

A report on the great nautical adventure of 2015

The decision to go canoeing / kayaking in the afternoon of the 4th seemed like a good way to relax. However as we came to our launch point we realized that in order to get to open water we had to cut a path through the cattails. As a group of Veterans this was no problem, we had done worse.

I was in the canoe with Noah and Ester; being the token Army Veteran we took the lead through the cattails. Once through we waited to make sure the kayaks would make it through the cattail trail. Soon all three emerged. However, we started to hear from the kayak that was manned by our Navy Veteran (Robbie) (now to be referred to as Navy) that he was taking on water. So our Air Force Veteran (now referred to as Air Force) came to his rescue, patching the hole in the kayak. As things were well in hand those of us in the canoe took off. We manage to irritate two sets of Trumpeter Swans, who were only protecting their babies, but highly suspected us of subversive activities. Our goal was a beach landing on the other side of the lake. After diverting the swans, investigating some suspicious looking lily pads we achieved a dazzling beach landing. Upon landing we notice our fleet had not traversed the waters. So, we backtracked to investigate.

Coming upon the three kayaks we noticed that Navy and Air Force looked somewhat soggy. A story of great distress followed: Just as Navy and Air Force had achieved open water for the second time, Air Force noticed that Navy looked a little wobbly, he was about to warn Navy; when Navy’s boat flipped heaving Navy into the water, he quickly rescued his cell phone and tossed it into Air Forces Kayak, trying to correct the situation Navy attempted to re-board his craft, he managed to get on top of the craft in a spread eagle fashion, just as Navy though all was under control, he and his craft rolled once again and sunk like the Titanic for the second time. About this time Air Force realized the need to rescue Navy. Being a kind hearted man he paddled over righted Navies craft and held it steady for the re-boarding. Navy then attempted to re-board a third time, in his endeavors not only did he sink his vessel, he sunk the Air Force, Air Force had presents of mind to rescue Navy’s phone.

This caused Air Force’s wife to take action, she sped to the rescue, helping both Navy and Air Force to re-board their vessels. That’s when Army (me) came upon them.

Later in the debriefing, Navy decided it was really the Marines fault that he shank his vessel three times (and took the Air Force down), as a Medic, the Marines kept Navy on land, more of a ground pounder than a seaman. Now, it is interesting the only true ground pounder in the group Army (me) managed to stay dry. As we continued our debriefing Navy started to empty his pockets to see what else might of gotten soaked. Out one pocket came a snail. At this time it is not clear when the snail tried to rescue Navy, but it gave its life doing so, not even Doc could bring it back to life. So in honor of the snail we have created an award to be given out every 4th of July.

On a side note, I started to receive inquiries about the great nautical disaster of July 4, 2015. I understand that throughout the United States as they heard of the 4 sinking’s, millions of hotdogs, hamburgers, brats, and marshmallows were incinerated with the words whispered “remember the Robbie”. The burning of the hotdogs (as it is now being called) will continue into late fall. As of today we are yet to hear from the brave snails family, so in 2016, No Fireworks 4th of July there will be a wreath lying to commemorate his bravery and great sacrifice.

A good time was had by all (except the snail). Don’t miss next years No Fireworks 4th of July (you just never know what will happen).


A Special Thank You to our Planning Team:

Robbie Bryant

Julie Thompson

Keith Thompson


A Veterans Story

The Vietnam Vet came to our Chaplains table, his shoulders slumped, his deep green eyes troubled and hurting. He stood for a moment looking over our selection of books and Bibles. He looked at me, taking a deep breath he said "I know what the Bible and God says about salvation and getting to heaven, but..." he paused, struggling to find the words "if those three men I killed are not in heaven...." "I don't want to be there." His eyes watered.

The hurt and pain that came from those statements were crushing. I was not sure how to help him. I said a quick  prayer asking God for His words of healing.

Taking a deep breath I asked "where you protecting the men on your squad when you fired?" "Yes" came the hesitant reply. "Where you following orders?" "Yes." "Did you save lives when you fired?" "Yes." "So, from what you told me you were doing what you had been trained and ordered to do. You did not deliberately set out to kill." "that's true" he replied. 

"In the eyes of the military, our government, and your squad mates your were doing what needed to be done. Lets take a look at how God would see what you did."

"First of all it is Gods responsibility to get men and women into to heaven, when you take that on your shoulders, you take it out of God's hands. Second, God understands that there will be war, that there will be soldiers who kill other soldiers, He knows the pain this causes'. In the Old Testament we can look at King David who was a warrior and a Commander-in-Chief. David was responsible for many kills, yet God called him "a man after His (God's) own heart". When they talked about the kills that David had in battle, the Hebrew word that was used means "a killing justified in Gods eyes" but, when the Bible talks about the murder that David committed late in his life it is described as "a killing not Justified by God". There is a big difference in God's eye between murder and killing in battle. God understands a warriors heart, it is His responsibility to bring the men and women killed in battle into His kingdom. We cannot hold onto what is Gods responsibility."

The Veteran looked at me and said "that all makes sense, I cannot make a decision right now, I have to think about this."

A teammate and I prayed with him and he left. For the next two years I often wondered if had he found the peace he was searching for or had be become one the 22. My wait was over when a smiling Veteran approached me, his eyes sparkled, he held his head high, "do you remember me? We talked two years ago. You told me how God views Veterans, I read all the material you gave me many times and though about what you said. Then I took a chance, I put it all in God's hands, I said here you take it." His eyes smiled "God took it all, I have been free ever since. I just wanted to thank you."

It has been many years since I first encountered the Vet, he has helped many others find the peace that only God can bring. Each year at Stand Down I look forward knowing I will see his smiling face. I have realized that in the times we don't know what to say or do, that we need to rely on the Lord the most.

To each Veteran and family member who is dealing with PTSD or the affects of war, do not give up. There is help.

4th of July

For those who are interested and live in or close to the Twin Cities, please meet at 1815 Suburban Ave., St. Paul, MN 55119 at 10:30 we will convoy to Fertile MN from there. Our eta in Fertile should 3:30.

Those who are coming from other directions, meet us in Fertile around 3:30.  Call me at 651-283-8459 to let me know you will be there.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July.


Our New Web Site

Base Camp Hope has a new web site and look. Thanks to Uriah Blathewick at Chord Solutions for organizing The Chord Solutions Hackfest. Thank You Joe Strommen and Sean Epping for designing our wonderful new site.

We are still at www.basecamphope.org. Please let me know what you think of it. You will notice one of the new features one is a Blog page. I will be updating that ever two week.

Speaking of the blog;

Saturday June 7 I was at Lake Benton, MN talking about PTSD and Veteran Suicide. It was a speech I had struggled to write, as I started to drive to Lake Benton on Friday afternoon I was not content with what I had written.

 As I was driving, Yolanda and Dustin Driez (the organizers of the event), called and asked if I would be wiling to talk at the men's prayer breakfast on Saturday. I agreed to do so. At the breakfast, I was asked not for the prepared speech but just to tell about myself, Base Camp Hope, PTSD and Veteran suicide. So, I left the speech in the car and spoke from my heart. The men all had great question and input.

After the breakfast on the way to the venue, I was talking to the Lord and was impressed to disregard the prepared speech and once again talk from my heard. I prayed and asked God to give me the words He would have me say.

Walking up to the podium I still had no idea of what I was about to say. I whispered a quick prayer, "God its up to you, show me what to say." an hour later and some great questions from the audience, I was told it was a great and informative speech. Yolanda had received some emails about how impressed they were with the speech.

Afterward I was also able to talk with some of the members of the community who had been affected by Veteran suicide.

It was an remarkable day. The lesson I learned is that when you trust God, amazing things happen.

Until next time, God Bless,

Diane Kinney