by Audrey Thomasson
Yankee Point Sailboat Marina last weekend hosted its Veterans Benefit Concert & Veterans Retreat. It was the fourth year Ken and Karen Knull honored veterans by helping to raise money to support Camp4Heroes, a retreat facility dedicated to wounded veterans and first responders.
While Camp4Heroes organizer Capt. John “Woody” Woodall usually brings 10 veterans down from Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C., this year, only two U.S. Army veterans were able to make the journey.
Paratroopers James Davis from Dublin, N.C., with the 173rd Airborne and Brian Fyffe from Blanchester Ohio, with the 82nd Airborne, arrived last Friday with their families and were treated to fishing, skeet shooting, sailing, target shooting and a benefit concert during their weekend stay.
“We are proud to be able to offer our wounded veterans and their caregivers a weekend where they can relax away from the rigors of hospital care and the normal hardships they face,” said Karen Knull.
According to Woodall, Camp4Heroes was started by firefighters after the events of 9/11, when terrorists hit the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Alexandria. “Some 344 firefighters lost their lives,” he said. “Firefighters wanted to thank veterans for taking up the fight.”
Woodall’s organization holds monthly cook-outs and an annual Christmas party for veterans at Walter Reed. “We take veterans to truck jams and on hunting and fishing trips,” he said.
The money raised from last year’s Yankee Point benefit event was used to buy a $15,000 all-terrain wheelchair for a veteran who had been housebound for over a decade. This year’s event was to raise money for Camp4Heroes’ 184-acre sanctuary and 10-acre lake between Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune in Fairmont, N.C. The camp is for wounded veterans, firefighters, police officers, first responders, their families and caregivers. Special events are planned for Gold Star Families—those who lost a loved one in combat.
Equipped with a central lodge, cabins, chapel, recording studio and campground with RV hookups, the center also offers recreational and learning activities such as painting, cooking, knife making, leather working, welding, blacksmithing, animal therapy, fishing, hunting, archery, farming and more.
The Knulls are avid supporters of helping veterans. They said they are already starting to plan for next year’s benefit.