By Carina A. Brunson
During a benefit show last year at South Padre Island, Tim Hadler made an impression on a mother in the audience. It was that impression that led Judy to reconnect with her son, and it was the GUMI Camp that brought her son back to her. Something Hadler said touched her and made her want to act.
Tim Hadler, a native of Washington State, grew up on a farm with a love of music. Hadler moved to Nashville shortly after graduating to pursue a career in music – little did he know at the time that his music would lead him to other things.
Having a voice reminiscent of the old-time legends, Hadler pays tribute to Hank Williams, but he also writes his own music. His music really touches the soul with real life behind the words. His music pays tribute to God, family, and military service.
His song “Scream” is a song he co-wrote with a 91-year-old Navy veteran. The song shows the emotion of the man’s struggles and nightmares related to his combat experience.
Hadler created a project that is very dear to his heart – GUMI Camp USA. His concerts are now dedicated to benefiting the camp and the people it serves. The camp serves veterans and helps them heal by giving them projects to work on and tasks that keep them busy.
Part of the program includes weekly peer to peer meetings, routine counselor sessions and transportation to VA appointments, and more.
When Judy heard about this program at his concert last year she decided it was time to get in touch with her son who she had not heard from in over a year. She texted him – Please let me know that you are alive.
She heard from him the next day. They talked and she mentioned the camp to him, that the camp needed people to help build and take care of the property. It took only a few hours before her son, Bob, called her back to ask for information about the camp and how to get there.
Now, nearly a year later, Judy said she has her son back.
“We thought we had lost our son,” said Judy. “If it wasn’t for the Tim and the camp … we wouldn’t have him.”
He’s just like he used to be before he served, she added. He is more relaxed, jokes around with his dad, and he realizes he isn’t the only one that hurts, or has these feelings.
Judy said she had the chance to tour the camp and said it is so beautiful, content, and peaceful. It is surrounded by trees, and full of wonderful people. Once you meet one, she said, you must meet them all. They become part of your family.
Other veterans work at the camp. They have built cabins, a chicken coop, a stable, and more on the property. There is also a chapel, a wood shop, and a community room. They all have a willingness to learn new skills, she said.
It’s amazing what the Hadlers have done.
“Tim has helped so much,” she said. “And they have gotten these guys to do so much in return.”
Each of the campers also receives a puppy when they get there. They raise and learn how to train the puppy and can take the dog with them when they leave if they choose.
“We recruit participants by seeking help from Veterans,” said Hadler. “They are so talented. Judy’s son Bob is an amazing man and has brought so much to the camp.
“Our hope is that by them enrolling into the program and helping at the camp with projects, chores, and others, that they find it’s helping them,” added Hadler.
“Tim has a soft way and understands them,” said Judy. It’s a healing place for those that are hurting and having problems. “I can’t believe how much a year has changed our son, everything … even with us.
“Our son wants to stay there,” added Judy. He gets to leave to visit his ex-wife and children, but has to check-in and be back by a certain date and time. “He has a purpose now and can be the dad he wanted to be.
“I can’t say enough about the camp, and Tim.” We see the gain in the finished result, she added. “It’s working for our son.”
Hadler said if you have a relative who is a Veteran who you think could apply their talents at the Camp, please call (417) 559-3892. The camp is located outside of Branson, MO and also in Pine County, MN. They specialize in helping homeless and jobless Veterans. If you want to learn more about the camp, visit their website at https://gumicampusa.com.
Tim Hadler will have this year’s benefit concert on Thursday, February 16th from 1 to 4 p.m. at Louie’s Backyard, 2305 Laguna Blvd., South Padre Island. Also performing will be Dave Perryman and Texas Country Revue.