On this Veteran’s Day I take my hat off to some of the most extraordinary people I have ever had the pleasure to know. I’ve been blessed to know, live and work with them as they faithfully served, forsaking their own life plans to carry out the duties placed upon their shoulders by the nation they know and love.

My cousin, Mark Pavelich, was himself suffering from PTSD and other forms of mental illness. Not a veteran himself, his introduction to the Vets came when he became a resident of the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, MN. The Nest is home to some 90 military veterans, all suffering from the mental wounds of armed conflict. Men and women who served halfway around the world, away from family and friends, away from so many of the comforts the rest of us take for granted every day. Mark was there only a few days when he admitted to me that he found himself, for the very first time, in the presence of real heroes.

The veterans there, themselves, invited Mark to be with them. They had a heart to help another with some of the very dark troubles they too had to deal with. They were also eager to welcome Mark, this Olympic and NHL hockey star, to a place where he could get well. The transition in Mark, regaining control of his life from the depths of an injured mind, was nothing short of extraordinary.

I joined the USAF in January 1967, and served here and around the world until the summer of 1987. Every day, I worked side by side with the most awesome team of Air Force men and women I have ever had the pleasure of serving with. To this day, the closeness we share is unmatched by other casual relationships I have experienced. Trustworthy, dependable, professional, highly trained technicians that today’s business managers salivate over – that is the character of those I served with those 20 years and of the many veterans I have met since that time.

Today, The Ranch enjoys being a part of the Eagle’s Healing Nest Family. Built in Mark’s memory, to be a place where players can go to get well. And as we partner with them, I encourage you to consider assisting in the latest Nest expansion – Lady Liberty. Add your donations to the Gofundme page.

Preserving our freedom, guarding our safety, defending each and every one of us around the clock and around the world, our military veterans are the very best we have. Many have borne the greatest cost of that service themselves. To each veteran, on behalf of my family, and on behalf of all the ranch hands at The Ranch – Teammates For Life, I salute you. God Bless You!

Jack Pavelich

President, The Ranch – Teammates For Life