Camaraderie Begins and Ends with Service to Others and is Rewarded with Once-in-a-Lifetime Texas Hunt

Selfless support for his fellow soldiers earns Thank You Deployment Nomination, from Operation Supply Drop community, for 25-year US Army Veteran Eric Cameron

A hero is a person or main character of a literary work who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through impressive feats of ingenuity, bravery or strength, often sacrificing his or her own personal concerns for some greater good.

Steven Giddings, part of the OSD community in Austin, Texas, nominated Eric because even after retirement he still continues to put the needs and welfare of others before himself. As Steven puts it, “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

“Eric has joined the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) and has been with them for over a year. With CVMA he helps do the laying of the wreaths on the graves at the Vet cemetery, the Vets for Vets event with the proceeds went to the Fisher House, and they help to buy items for the Veterans home in Temple, Texas. They do the Wheelers for the Wounded event and participate in almost all the patriot guard missions. Eric and his brothers and sisters will be riding to Bryant for a memorial/event for a veteran and his family that passed away suddenly. Eric has continued to save lives on and off the battle field by being there for any and all soldiers. Recently he has helped me save one of our soldiers from killing himself by a huff can. Eric has saved my life by being there for me every second of the day for me. He continues to show such amazing support for soldiers even after retirement. Eric deserves this thank you deployment because of all the thing he has done and continues to do for soldiers each and every day. He deserves to be thanked for all his amazing acts Heroism.”

We at Operation Supply Drop completely agreed after meeting Eric ourselves and began working with him to identity the best experience possible, which for Eric was a hunting outing.

Team Seguin and Elm Creek Ranch hosted, Eric Cameron, to a once-in-a-lifetime Texas whitetail deer hunt. The Ranch located in Cotulla, Texas is an amazing 1000 acres of hunting paradise. Eric was able to shoot 2 Whitetail does and a 180 Pound 8 Point Buck.

While it was a challenge for Eric to express his excitement, upon returning to civilization, we received a great reaction:

“Now that my adrenaline has finally calmed down, I would like to take a moment to thank some awesome people who made a great weekend. First, I would like to thank Steven Giddings for recommending me for this awesome hunt. Scott Morrison and the members of Operation Supply Drop went all out and along with Brandon Hammond created the ultimate hunting weekend!! Finally I would like to thank the Elm Creek Lodge for hosting such awesome event. Durell and Lana who own the land were beyond awesome hosts. They opened their home and land and even the most awesome man cave I have ever seen. Without a doubt, this weekend is a memory that I will carry for the rest of my life!”

This specific Thank You Deployment is unique and we would be wrong not to share the rest of the story. Upon learning of the Thank You Deployment nomination, Eric gave us an account of how amazing a role Steven has played in his life. This is exactly what the OSD family hopes to impart on the community.

Eric told us,

“I first met Steven Giddings in March of 2007 when I took over as the First Sergeant for B Co, 1/22 Infantry, 1st Brigade, 4th ID. At that time Steven was a Specialist and one of my riflemen in 2nd Platoon. I immediately became aware of the fact that he was struggling with issues from his previous deployment. As a leader I knew I had to take care of him and help him return to full duty.

“We spent a lot of time talking about his issue, and making sure he was getting the best treatment possible. By September Steven had started making a full recovery. I think after he saw the Commander and I support him through his treatment, knowing that he had a Command Team that cared, helped him out a lot. He became one of my top performers. We deployed together to OIF 07-09. We fought in the battle for Shula in May and June 2008. We lived and operated in one of the most austere environments possible. We spent 12 hours a day in sector and came back to having 120 guys packed into two 100’ x 100’ tin roof buildings with no air conditioning. Two months of that will make anyone get to know their battle buddy.

“In July we were in the process of building up a new FOB on the corner of Route Vernon and Sword called JSS Adl. This was highly kinetic area. We had built new fighting positions on the roof of the FOB (five stories up), complete with sniper glass, but unfortunately we were still in the process of sandbagging the positions when a highly trained sniper shot Steven. I was out on a combat patrol, when it happened, and made it to the area that the sniper had fired from within 10 minutes but we could not catch they guy. I went back to the FOB and picked up another Platoon, and the Commander and I immediately went to the hospital to see Steven.

“We did this every day until he was evacuated to Germany. When we returned from the deployment, Steven was slowly recovering so I put him in the training room to protect him while he recovered. A few months later I had to take part in the unit move to Ft. Carson. I had everything lined up to take Steven with me, so I could continue to help him with his recovery, however the medical personnel would not allow him to go with me.

“For the next couple of years we would stay in touch on Facebook and occasional text messages. When I returned to Ft. Hood and subsequently retired, we started to talk more, and were able to see each other regularly. I knew he was struggling, and tried to help him along as best I could. I think everything changed for Steven a little over a year ago.

“One of my Soldiers from B Co, and Steven’s friends was spiraling quickly. By this time Steven and I were talking regularly. He reached out to me, and I used my connections to try to help the Soldier. This is when I really saw Steven blossom into a true caring leader, and friend. He made sure the Soldier’s wife was kept informed of what was going on, and became the supportive leader for the Soldier. Since then we have been able to get together regularly, and Steven has flourished with starting his own Non-profit, which has led to the possibility of a future opportunity with a larger Non-profit. I am extremely proud of all that he has accomplished and the challenges he has overcome since meeting him for the first time in 2007. I am proud to call him my friend.

And we’re humbled to have both of these men in the community and are thankful for the opportunity to serve.