Where the idea came from?
Like many great adventures, it started with a phone call. Matt Gilespie called Richard Chelson. Matt had some pretty rough thoughts going on. Matts’s Headspace wasn’t right and he needed to get his mind in the right space.
So Matt and Rich jumped in the jeep and off they went with nothing but a topographical map. Spending hours driving back roads. There were times that they never set a tire on asphalt, nor even said a single word to each other. They did this for four days and when they got back home they knew they had a special ritual that would only be understood as the 3-day effect.
the following Year Matt and Rich brought a friend of theirs along to see if he experienced the same grounding and mental load shift that they had experienced. Sure enough, Their friend had noticed that he was able to “Take a load off” of his mind. While on this adventure they came across Byrds adventure center.
In February of 2021, Matt woke up from sleep with an idea. Why not bring everyone along, especially the veterans who are suffering from their own demons and the weight of their past experiences, and see if he could help a few people. So Operation: Tears of the 22 was born.
From here things started moving fast. They decided to bring anyone who wanted to come to have a time of fun, jeeping and to reset their mental processes, and the Off the Hardball retreat came hard and fast and was incredible
The First day
The first full day of the retreat was small, as people through the weekend were making their way down to Byrds Adventure Center. The schedule was relaxed as people woke up and started to enjoy their day. Matt and Rich had invited several jeep clubs to the event. That way the people here could experience the fun and excitement of riding the jeep trails.
Stu’s Clean Cookin was there to feed the masses with some of the best chicken pulled pork and chop house beans. Stu’s Clean Cookin also had some mashed potatoes that can only be described as wow.
Then at 6, the night started with music from live bands
The Second Day
It was more of the same with new music acts to entertain the vets after a fun-filled day of hiking, talking, and riding jeeps and Rock Crawlers
The Third Day
The Vets were able to enjoy the power of a few rock crawlers and wrap up making new friends, reminiscing about the times they had with their old military buddies. Then wrapped the night up with a couple of stellar bands to give them a chance to whoop it up just one more night.
Now that everything is done and cleaned up. Operation Tears of the 22 are so glad we chose to follow our hearts and convictions in seeking out to help the men and women of our military so that we don’t lose these national treasures.