Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Honoring a True American Hero

Bo & Landon at RMEF headquarters
The mission of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is to enhance the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. Though not a stated part of our mission, there is another cause that lies closely to our collective heart. RMEF is a staunch supporter of our servicemen and women who serve both abroad and at home to keep our nation safe and free.

We recently had the opportunity to welcome a real life American hero to RMEF headquarters. Here is his story. 

Bo Reichenbach is from Billings, Montana, where he grew up as an avid ice hockey player. At age 15, he left home to pursue his dream of being a goaltender in the National Hockey League. He traveled north of the border to play junior hockey in Canada for the Thunder Bay Wolverines. 

Four years later, in March of 2008, Bo decided to serve our country and enlisted in the Navy. That same year he became the father of a baby boy, Landon. In May of 2010 he received a promotion to Navy SEAL and became entrusted with serving some of the most dangerous missions in the military. Bo’s unit received deployment orders to Afghanistan on January 3, 2012. Six months later, Bo and his five man unit walked down a road when he triggered an underground explosive. 

“I hit the ground and was awake immediately. My left leg was completely gone. My right leg was damaged pretty bad. I just knew I had to stop the bleeding. I tried getting a tourniquet on and I couldn’t because my right arm was pretty mangled.”

Bo suffered horrific injuries. He lost his left leg and his right leg below the knee. He also suffered a 40 to 60 percent hearing loss and has severe nerve damage in his right arm. 

(Photo via Montana Grizzlies
see video below of the jump)
RMEF recently teamed up with other partners to support Bo and his family during a visit to Missoula to take part in multiple fundraising efforts for a trust account to build the Reichenbachs a handicap accessible home. (Go here to make a tax deductible donation.) 

In addition to visiting RMEF headquarters, he took part in several meet-and-greet events around town and capped off his visit at the 2013 home opener for the University of Montana football team. Six former Navy SEAL Leap Frogs from the Navy’s premiere demonstration jump team, which included several of his friends, parachuted into Washington-Grizzly Stadium to honor and recognize their injured brother. 

Lacy, Bo & Landon at Washington-Grizzly Stadium
(Photo via Kurt Wilson/Missoulian)
An all-time record crowd of 26,293 stood as one to honor Bo and to cheer the jumpers who supported him. It was an electricity-filled kind of moment. Bo, a Griz fan himself, was on the sidelines where he watched his team roll over visiting Appalachian State 30-6. 

(Video courtesy Jim Kinsey & Jana Waller)

(Video of the jump)

At just 25 years of age with wife Lacy and a now five year old son, Bo now spends the majority of his time at Walter Reed Medical Hospital where he underwent 20 medical procedures with more to come.

Bo continues his quest for personal excellence shortly when he takes part in the Never Quit Challenge, a private charity ride for military personnel. The invitation-only event features six four-person teams that will ride personal water crafts 1,600 miles to New York City. Bo will serve as an operator on Team Spartan

Bo's father will relocate to Bethesda for the next year as Bo undergoes extensive rehabilitation in Maryland. Bo's mom says the Navy SEAL community embraced her son and their family. Don Reichenbach said Bo has a long road ahead of him, but he's going to land on top. He told his father, "I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. God has me on a new path and I'm excited for this new adventure."

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