(Photo by Shirl Boyce)
Under the largest flag in the state of Idaho, and escorted by 16 American Legion Riders (plus five motorcycle policemen), the inaugural class of Wyakin Warriors took their first steps toward achieving new milestones in their lives on Friday. The ceremony was held at the Governor’s House on top of a scenic hill overlooking the entire Treasure Valley (the valley that is home to Boise and several smaller towns in southwestern Idaho). In the audience were 130 people who had contributed their time, skills, or money to make the day possible.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little and the Wyakin Warriors (Boyce photo)
Wyakin is a Native American term meaning Guardian Spirit, and the name seemed more fitting on that day than usual. I am sure the five severely wounded or injured veterans could feel the spirit of the crowd, its well-wishes and pride almost palpable. Pride not only in helping to bring a young organization to life, but also pride in the dignity, courage and confidence that shone on the faces of the Wyakin Warriors. The five men had faced down physical challenges that would have stopped lesser men, and instead said to the world, “I’m ready to move on.”
And they will. They will be the Pathfinders for hundreds, maybe thousands of others who will follow. The Pathfinders will blaze the trail, but they in turn will follow the path forged by the people standing on the hilltop with them.
I was one of the people in the crowd. And I could not have been more proud of the men who stood before us, nor could I have been more excited for them as they began their journey.
But they won’t be traveling alone. They’ll be accompanied by all the people there, ready to pitch in again if need be to help them succeed.
And they will. Because they are Wyakin Warriors.