GAP MILLS (WVDN) – Veterans providing quality of life services for other vets is a heartfelt subject. Just participating in the armed forces is a social sacrifice for the betterment of fellow man and country.
Achieving retirement, either through the system or by medical disability, would seem to be a conclusion of the time of service, but for many veterans there is an additional motivation to serve their fellows and support them if they are disabled.
One such veteran is Gap Mills resident Mike Weldon, a former Air Force firefighter. His service had been in support of the air base in the protection of pilots landing aircraft which were disabled, often racing to the runway and spraying foam to extinguish and prevent fire.
Weldon used his Air Force training after discharge, working in fire and rescue in Fairfax County, Va. “We did support on a fire boat for water activities, recreational and handicap adaptive programs. I was inspired to become active and later became president of the Metropolitan Handicap Association in Fairfax County,” he says.
Now living in Gap Mills, Weldon is building Adaptive Outdoor Adventures, a facility that will serve veterans, first responders and Gold Star families. Located near the entrance to Moncove Lake in Monroe County, his glamping and ADA equipped Airbnb will be the headquarters of an outdoor sports program.
Hunting, fishing and boating are the sports that he is most interested in opening up to fellow veterans and physically challenged first responders. Having been both himself, he really is excited to provide access to the outdoor adventure.
The road running past the entrance to Moncove Lake is called Gold Star Families Highway, a section of Rt. 3 between Keenan Road and Gap Mills. Gold Star Families hold a special place in veterans’ hearts as their loved ones died in action. This road leads to Adaptive Outdoor Adventures.
Local support is growing for Weldon’s project. As he has constructed the Airbnb facility, he has met and connected with other veterans who are able and anxious to participate as hunting or fishing guides.
“A boat is a big help to the fishing part of the program!” said Weldon. “Even the sheriff has offered to just let him know what I need, and he will try to help me.”
Weldon started building Adaptive Outdoor Adventures before the COVID-19 pandemic began, but he has had more time during the slowdown of the pandemic to really develop and plan his business idea. He hopes to open for in spring of 2023, offering hunting during legal seasons for turkey, deer, coyote, and ducks as well as fishing at Bluestone Lake on a pontoon boat and in area streams for trout.
Follow Weldon on the Facebook page for Adaptive Outdoor Adventures and watch him make his dream of veteran service come true.