Since retiring from the U.S. Army, Staff Sergeant Jeffery Vaughn has once again found peace and solace on the water, fishing. Whether fishing on his own, or working with local charter services, Vaughn has built a system of mentors in the local fishing industry and longed for a vessel of his very own.
Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope to service members, their families, and families of the fallen. Its first established program, A Warrior’s Wish, honors the goals and desires of severely wounded service members, veterans, and their families.
“A big thank you to Hope For The Warriors and its a Warrior’s Wish program for gifting me a Hobie Pro Angler kayak to get out on the water in and relax," said Vaughn. “My favorite thing about my new kayak is that it’s small and lightweight but stable and easy to get on and off the water. It also gets me into places a boat cannot get to.
“I am so passionate about fishing because when I'm offshore and cannot see land it is the most peaceful place on earth,” he added.
Vaughn, enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 2001 and served as an Infantry Sniper deploying to Kuwait and Iraq between 2003 and 2004. During his second tour, his Sniper Team was sent to Sadr City to support the Mahdi Militia uprising. During a heavy firefight with the enemy, a tank from a friendly element mistakenly targeted Staff Sergeant Vaughn and his team. He was shot in both thighs and his back and was medically evacuated to Fort Riley. A few weeks later, he returned to finish his tour.
After six years serving in the U.S. military, Vaughn, medically retired in November of 2007 due to nerve damage from the gunshot wounds and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Transitioning out the military is no easy task,” said Robin Kelleher, president and CEO of Hope For The Warriors. “For many veterans, finding a new hobby or passion or reinvigorating a previous one helps with the transition process. So it brings us great joy to grant Staff Sergeant Jeffery Vaughn’s A Warrior’s Wish of a fishing kayak.”
Today, Vaughn has earned his Captains licenses through the U.S. Coast Guard and hopes to open a small charter business in the future.
In 2018, 20 wishes will be granted through Hope For The Warriors. The wishes fulfill a desire for a better quality of life or support a quest for gratifying endeavors for those who have sustained severe physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty.
Since the program’s inception, A Warrior’s Wish has granted 200 wishes.
For sponsorship and volunteer opportunities for the A Warrior’s Wish program, contact Chrystal Keilers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (832) 776-9379.
To apply for a wish, visit hopeforthewarriors.org/story/19331538/a-warriors-wish and register online.