Healing, Fly Fishing and the Power of Giving
On August 31, 2004, we were doing patrols in Iraq, and a convoy was going down a supply route and they were ambushed. There were RPGs that were shot. There was a lot of small arms fire. Gasoline spilled on the road, ignited, and a lot of people were caught in the fire.
introducing Alvin Shell
a retired U.S. Army Captain and current federal employee
speaking on behalf of the CFC
I went in and helped a lot of guys get out of that fire, and subsequently, I was burned. I didn’t realize how bad I was burned at the time, but I remember them putting me on the helicopter and my company commander telling me that I was a hero. I didn’t realize really what he meant at the time. But I remember when the helicopter took off, I closed my eyes, and I didn’t wake up until I was stateside. When I woke up, I opened my eyes, and the first two people I saw were my father and also my wife. I knew that my life had changed, I just didn’t know how severely it had changed. I couldn’t move anything, except for my left hand. I couldn’t talk. Definitely couldn’t walk. Couldn’t turn over. The only thing I could do was look straight up at a ceiling 24-hours a day and whisper. I lost so much, and that was my new reality.
How the CFC Helps
As bad as it was, it wasn’t as bad as some soldiers who were going through the same thing and had no one that lifted them up. I can’t imagine with someone waking up in a similar situation – that didn’t have the support structure that I had – what they’re going though. It’s, I think, the reason for CFC. The reason that CFC exists is to help people in those similar situations where you’re facing a crisis in your life, and you need help. People that understand what that life crisis is and they can connect with you. And, they can get you to the other side.
When I was in my hospital bed, and I couldn’t move my arms or my legs, I said if I could ever get up out of this bed, if I could ever move my arms and legs, I wanted to learn how to fly fish. And, I found one of those nonprofit organizations that helps soldiers learn how to fly fish. And I benefited a lot from that. It was therapeutic for me to learn to cast, to learn about the water and how to read the water, to feel nature, to hear the birds, to see the fish. For me, fly fishing is more than just catching a fish. It’s something that you can’t replicate any other way. I get a chance to be in the moment, and only in that moment at that time. I can’t get that anywhere else. And I’ve always wanted to give back. I’ve always wanted to be a volunteer myself. Now, it’s my turn to give back. Now it’s my time to give to other soldiers. And so, if I can help someone else feel the way I feel about fly fishing and being out in nature,that would definitely be my purpose.
The Power of Giving
The power of giving is profound, and it’s impactful. And you have the ability, through the CFC, you can help someone out by payroll deduction. A charity or an organization that is something that you identify with, you understand what that person is going through. You can’t give too much. You can’t help too much. And the need is definitely out there, and there are organizations that are set up right now to be by the bedside, similar to what my father and my wife and my mother were to me.
Hi. My name’s Alvin Shell and helping veterans is my cause. Give to a cause YOU care about through the CFC. And Show Some Love today.