Fear is such a powerful emotion that the way we react to it will ultimately determine what we achieve and who we become. Fear creates confusion, hinders our determination, creates impatience, places roadblocks in our pathway toward personal growth, and impairs our ability to change. Our brains are hard-wired to release chemicals in the heat of battle which cause us to stand up and fight like a warrior as a response to the most intense situations we face, but sadly, all too often, we tend to run from our fear which robs us of attaining so much more because what we are facing seems way too risky.

To me, “no risk” equals “no reward” however my risk free world came crashing down last winter when I was faced with my own fear of being an ineffective father. Even though I admired many of those men around me who were “good fathers”, I sadly didn’t buy into the need or desire to become one until I was met head on with the pain, heartache, and suffering as the result of my failure as an effective Dad. Now, I appreciate the depth and impact that an effective father makes; and I don’t think there is a harder more powerful, rewarding, or impactful job in this world.

The lessons learned in the woods and along my journey have been valuable and necessary for my growth, renewal, and rediscovery. Success to me is much more than wins, losses, or bagging that giant buck. Life is about uncertainty and adventure. The lessons along your journey can serve as a reminder of who you are, where you have been, where you are going, how far you have come, and how changing your direction can impact your future. Embrace uncertainty, and don’t let what you CAN’T do prevent you from doing what you CAN. If I can do it then so can you.



I have always admired people who are not afraid to put one foot in front of the who have the attitude that quitting is not an option. The only one who ever fails is the only one who never tries. If you are not happy, fix the problem. You have the tools to slay the Goliath that stands in your way. God is waiting for you and wants to be a part of your journey. Hope, love, forgiveness is found at the Cross. Its up to you. God speed.




Yes you can!

There are two types of people in this world— those that say, “I CAN” and those that say, “I CAN’T.” The “I CAN” people reach deep within to find the inner strength and confidence to ask one simple question: Am I the person I was meant to be? They let the seed of their true self grow and mature, creating an unbreakable belief in themselves that all things are possible. They live life to the fullest, finding pleasure in everything they do. They are wiling to let go of their inhibitions and take a risk to find out who they are and what they are made of. Rather than run from fear, they take the risk to follow their dream; even if there is a chance that they might fail. They set specific goals that focus on what they want to achieve, rather than dwelling on the hard work it takes to get there. They rest when tired and allow their emotions help guide them along their journey. They believe above all things that they are smart enough, strong enough, and talented enough to persevere even when the going gets tough.

I haven’t always been a super positive person who believed that all things were possible. My life unraveled and went out of control when I hit rock bottom in 1999. I had low self-esteem, was depressed, overweight, and had a negative attitude; all because I let a four letter word “FEAR” get the best of me. When things seemed out of control, 3 key people introduced me to Jesus Christ. That set in motion a series of events that changed my life forever.

The lessons learned in the woods and along my journey have been valuable and necessary for my growth, renewal, and rediscovery. Success to me is much more than wins, losses, or bagging that giant buck. The place I feel the closest to God is in the wilderness. It’s the place where my soul comes alive and where I hear the encouraging loving soft voice without judgement or condemnation. To me failure is not the end but a new beginning. A dream is only a dream until you put action in motion. You have only one life to live so get after it.image

A journey of hope, healing , and rediscovery

The sounds of nature awakened as the beautiful rays of sun began to break through the clouds. As I drove, my thoughts drifted to a time when covered wagons traveled, perhaps, through these same plains. Those early settlers must have possessed great determination and faith in the unknown to travel great distances. Those easy settlers also had to overcome adversity and harsh conditions as they worked toward dreams of making a better life for themselves. As I return to the present and look around at the untamed prairie in the National Grassland south of Fort Pierre, I begin to contemplate the reason that brought me here to this place. I have discovered that my affinity with nature is simple— it a place of independence where I can use the skills I have learned to prove to myself that I have what it takes, a place to listen to Gods soft encouraging voice, as well as an opportunity to step back from my daily struggle of dealing with chronic pain and its effects.

The Fort Pierre National Grassland, south of Fort Pierre, SD hosts a spectacular 116,000 acres of gentle rolling hills, prairie grass, draws, pockets, and creek bottoms. This land which is managed by the US Forest Service, is home to a variety of plants, fish, and animals and is the perfect setting for my first “Do It Yourself” mule deer archery hunt. Coming to the end of the road, I parked, unpacked my supplies, and found the perfect spot to set up my tent overlooking this beautiful oasis. After putting away my personal belongings, I dressed, strapped on my backpack, grabbed my bow and my camera, and headed out into the unknown to document this journey and recover from the one thing that brought me here in the first place; chronic pain and its companion the ugly beast known as depression. The magnificence of the sun put me on center stage basking in its rays, as I hiked with confidence in my hunting skills and my ability to tackle a “DIY” archery mule deer hunt.

After I had immersed myself into nature, I encountered a small herd of mule deer as if God was welcoming me into this adventure. Using the wind to close the gap on these majestic creatures, I fought a case of “buck fever” and switched from hunter to photographer in order to document this part of the adventure. As the day progressed under the bright rays of sun, I also encountered a herd of antelope, a bald eagle, a covey of grouse, a red tailed hawk, a rattlesnake, and a couple of coyotes before the sun went down and the clouds and winds moved in. I enjoyed the quiet as I ate supper, before settling into my tent and thanking God for this amazing day as I quickly drifted off to sleep.

The weather changed throughout the night, but I was happy and confident that my new weather resistant tent could hold up to the adverse conditions that I might face. The next morning, I decided to pack up my belongings and move to a new location since the open prairie is no place to be if you are caught in a thunderstorm. After I had reached the new location, I walked for a couple of hours in fierce winds under an overcast sky. There, I located a big mule deer buck with his doe companion bedded down behind a large “slide” which they were using to escape the harsh windy conditions. Even thought I did my best to use the hilly open terrain to close the gap, the seasoned buck and his companion gave me the slip and escaped out the backside. After walking for a couple more hours, my sore shoulder, back, and tired legs had all that they could take for the day.

Chronic pain is a debilitating phenomenon that serves no purpose. It is often misunderstood by people on the outside looking in. It often defines who a person is and what they become, and I can tell you through personal experience that it can negatively affect your mind, body, and soul…if you let it. It can make you feel like you have lost control of your life, affecting your relationships (family and friends) and your quality of life; even affecting your desire to participate in the activities that you once enjoyed. Fatigue, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and irritability are some of the challenges I face traveling along my chronic pain journey. Like those of you living this nightmare, I continue to struggle along my way. But when the going gets tough, I try to focus on the one thing that has stayed constant along my journey; my faith and God’s promise to never leave my side. On the other side of your fear you too will find a place of hope, purpose, and meaning; if you change the way you think. When things seem to get out of control, I encourage you to take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other, and remember that this is not a bad life, just a bad day. Each day begins with a new sunrise and ends with a new sunset. Life is meant to be lived. Awaken your spirit, embrace the unknown because hope, healing, and recovery await along your adventure. See you in the wilderness where you can focus on the importance of life andthe lessons that can be learned. You are not alone.




Brett Bastian

Warrior Arrow– A True Symbol of Sacrifice

Warriors Never Give Up’s (WNGU) mission is the inspiration behind the creation of the Warriors Arrow. The creation took place in the basement of Hunts End Outdoors Archery shop this winter following a conversation between Dustin Sperlich and Brett Bastian. Dustin is a combat veteran, Pastor, avid outdoorsman, and the owner of Hunts End Outdoors and Brett is a veteran, avid outdoorsman, and a co-founder of WNGU. The two share a common bond for the outdoors, bow hunting, and both feel that the outdoors holds a natural affinity for healing. “When Brett told me about Warriors Never Give Up, I immediately thought, ‘How can I get involved?’ which stirred the idea of the Warriors Arrow”.

Dustin understands first hand the sacrifices that our nation’s heroes make and have made as he proudly served in 2007-2008 during Operation Iraqi freedom with the South Dakota Army National Guard. Dustin and Brett’s objective for this awesome fundraising project was simple— to inspire every bow hunter across the nation to carry the Warriors arrow in their quiver as a reminder of the blood shed by the men and women warriors who have fought for our freedom. The arrow also represents the ultimate warrior, Jesus Christ, and his ultimate sacrifice for our salvation, hope, forgiveness, and eternity.

In a time of so much hurt and divide in this great nation, I believe the Warrior Arrow and its symbol of sacrifice is what is needed to spark a revolution of change. Hope, healing, faith, renewal, healing and change await those who dare to chase their dreams.
Each Warrior Arrow comes with a Warrior Arrow certificate handcrafted by Dustin at Hunts End Outdoors meeting the specifications set by Dustin and Brett to inspire the idea of sacrifice, hope, healing, and giving back.
Life is not something you get its something you experience. We only get one life to live.

An amazing adventure of faith, hope, renewal, change, and healing awaits all involved.

Brett Bastian, Co-founder

Warriors Never Give Up is a God inspired volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the lives of our nation’s heroes by providing outdoor adventures for combat, deployed, and service-connected disabled.

All Proceeds from the Warriors Arrow help support Warriors Never Give Up and their mission of changing the lives of our nation’s heroes one outdoor adventure at a time.



Heroes on the Hardwater

Warriors Never Give Up (WNGU) kicked off our 2017 mission of changing the lives of our nation’s heroes through our outdoor adventures in February by hosting our first-ever ice fishing event south of Bristol, SD. “Heroes on the Hardwater” is the brainchild of professional walleye angler and WNGU board member, Dan Geiken. Dan’s passion for the outdoors uniquely aligns with our vision of giving back to our nations heroes and his enthusiasm has spread like a wild fire within the community of professional walleye anglers and guides.

The simple idea of giving back to those who have sacrificed so much and the generosity of time given to us by our passionate partners and volunteers makes our events special, rewarding, and life-changing. This amazing God inspired event was courtesy of land owner, Robert Duerre, who knows the sacrifices our nation’s heroes have made, as he proudly served during the Vietnam War.

“Heroes on the Hardwater” began the day before as our volunteer guides pre-fished Duerre slough south of Bristol, SD in hopes of finding a honey hole that would put our hero participants right on top of the fish. After punching several holes, fishing, and scanning our private oasis for that perfect spot, most of the volunteer guides settled on a small piece of property south of the slough. Houses were set up for our heroes, who would arrive the following day.

Sharing a common bond for the outdoors and its natural affinity for healing, our 10 combat Vietnam veterans and one Gold-Star brother of a Vietnam hero along with our volunteer guides departed for the ice in a caravan of excitement, past a sea of American flags as co-founder Brett Bastian saluted our heroes in honor and appreciation. Each beautiful flag, powered by freedom, and the early winter breeze, waved in harmony as our “hero” fisherman and guides settled in for a memorable day. With our veterans comfortably in their ice shacks waiting for the next strike, board members, Dan Geiken and Troy Fox, started the BBQ tantalizing those close by. The others remained in their shacks tending their lines, as they enjoyed delivery service of hot, off the grill lunches. The afternoon hour was filled with conversations and friendly fishing competition, with plenty of fish being caught by all. As the sunset drew near, Dan Geiken, Troy Fox, and some of the volunteers cleaned fish as our nations heroes gathered around to share fish tales for the day and the common bonds that unite them. As the group departed for the Webster VFW, for an old fashioned fish fry, a solitary flag remained as a reminder that days such as these are celebrated by courage of those brave few that were willing to fight and defend it.

This simple idea of giving back that began over prayer and coffee has spread like a wild fire to become a recognizable volunteer non-profit veteran service organization that we take pride in. Since its inception, we have humbly served over 300 Veterans and their families with no plans of stopping. With God in control, along with our diverse and passionate Board of Directors, our amazing volunteers, and our generous sponsors and partners, I believe the sky is the limit to what can be accomplished.

An amazing adventure of faith, hope, renewal, change, and healing awaits all involved. Join our Warriors Never Give Up team and let’s change the lives of our nation’s heroes one outdoor adventure at a time.

Brett Bastian, Co-founder
Troy Fox, WNGU Board Member
Healing heroes through outdoor adventures

A hunt of a lifetime

My quest for the elusive coues deer began this winter in the Arizona desert after winning a contest with professional hunter and host of Days In The Wild, John Stallone. Too say the least, the wilderness adventure exceeded my expectations. After being picked up at the airport by John and his young passionate protege Shane Edgar, we picked up my license and some essentials for the trip and made our way south into the Sonoran Desert. Heading back into God’s country which He created for us, heading toward a new adventure.

The heart of coues whitetail deer country in the desert is a vast network of interconnected flats and mountains ranges. The desert is filled with ocotillo cactus, palo verde trees, desert scrub brush, varied cactus, oak trees and lots of loud, unsteady, uneven ground. Spot and stalk style hunting is a very demanding hunting style not for the faint of heart. The uneven terrain, elevation change, the art of effective glassing, and the critical thinking that it takes to get close enough to shoot with a bow makes this type of hunt one I will never forget

John and Shane are not only gifted by their craft, they are two of the most dedicated and passionate hunters I have ever met. They taught me patience, effective glassing techniques, stealth like stalking, and skills that I had not previously learned. I have been a bow hunter the last 18 years and to say the least I was humbled spiritually, physically, and mentally by the vast wilderness and the conditions we faced. It was truly a blessing and honor to be in their presence, living out my dreams by this wilderness experience. I arrived a shooter and left a hunter and a better person and was truly blessed by this experience and grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for the wilderness and the outdoors with John and Shane. See you next time on one of my crazy outdoor adventures in the wilderness.



New Year New Me

New years resolutions, most people have them, but how many actually keep them? I, like most Americans, will strive to get back into shape in 2017. The fact that it is a popular resolution is not surprising given that two-thirds of all Americans are considered to be either obese or overweight. Those that follow through with their resolution and start an exercise program have less than a 50% chance of dropping out within the first six months. Below are some great tips to help you reach your new years fitness resolutions making 2017 the best year ever:

Set realistic goals. Instead of setting a goal of losing 30 pounds in 30 days, try setting short-term goals that lead you down a path to long-term success. Setting unrealistic goals often leads to frustration and lack of discipline to get the job done.
Choose a time and place to work out. The key to success is to commit yourself to working out on the days of the week that best fit into your busy schedule. Whether it is at home or a gym, pick a time when there will be no distractions, maximizing your ability to achieve your fitness goals.
Find a workout buddy. If you need external motivation, invite a friend to be your workout partner. Friends are a great source of motivation, will help keep you accountable, and will be there for you when the going gets tough. If you don’t have a training partner, consider hiring a personal trainer. They will design, implement, and motivate you toward your 2017 New Years resolution.
Take the first couple of weeks slow. It is important to familiarize your body with the activity that you intend to do. Start out at a very easy level so your muscles can get acclimated to your new exercise program. Going too hard too fast will often create undue muscle soreness or injury that causes you to quit. As the weeks go, slowly increase the intensity and length of your workouts to get long-lasting results.
Do exercise activities that you enjoy. It is much easier to adhere to an exercise program if you enjoy what you are doing. Developing an exercise routine and sticking to it is an extremely important part of reaching your fitness goal. For most of us, it takes 6 weeks of consistency to stick with any new routine. Often times, the body best responds to variation in your activity to keep seeing the benefits of your hard work.
Remember the key to success is to be patient, set realistic goals, choose an exercise routine that is fun, be consistent, and add an accountability partner for long lasting results. By following these simple idea, 2017 can be your best year yet.

Brett Bastian is a avid outdoor enthusiast and wilderness athlete, author, and blogger @ http://www.theunknowntrail.wordpress.com.



Let #anygift spark a revolution of change

LETTER TO THE EDITOR— Brandon Valley Challenger

‘Let #anygift spark a revolution of change

The amazing display of the festive fall colors, cool breezes, brilliant sunrises and magnificent sunsets can only mean one thing – the Christmas season is just right around the corner and “tis the season” to give. No need to panic, yet. There is plenty of time for Santa to decide who has been naughty or nice.

Not too long ago, a plain, vanilla envelope arrived in the mail with a handwritten anonymous letter, which held this message: “Warriors Never Give Up came to our attention a short time ago. Being a God-inspired organization sure makes a lot of sense to us. Please accept this gold coin and use it in any way you feel is best to help your participants. We love your mission. We prefer to remain anonymous but we enjoy trying to help good people and good groups do good things for good people who could use the help. Our motto has been anyone, any amount; any place any time; #anygift. We hope you will find a means to spread the word so this may inspire other people to do the same. Please help to continue the campaign. Thanks for your good work. Anonymous”.
After sifting through the contents and reading the articles that had generously been sent to our volunteer non-profit organization, a one-ounce gold coin fell from the bottom of the envelope. The meaning of this donation and the trouble the donor’s went through to send it, is deeply inspiring.

Warriors Never Give Up (WNGU) is a good old-fashioned volunteer, God-inspired non-profit organization dedicated to changing the lives of our nation’s heroes and their families through outdoor adventures. Generous donations such as this, along with the many other corporate and individual contributions help us achieve our motto: Heroes. Hunting. Healing.
The Christmas season is a great time to spark a revolution of change, giving back, and doing good things for others, which starts right here in our own communities. This simple gesture of giving back, we believe, can bring about real change, hope, healing, and rediscovery for our nation’s veterans.

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that have the most impact or the most meaning. I am comforted and honored that Warriors Never Give Up has partnered with such giving people and corporations over the past three years who also share the same passion, a love of the outdoors and giving back to our nation’s heroes.

Although I may never be given the opportunity to meet the person responsible for sending us the gold coin and sparking a revolution of inspiration in our ranks, but we accept the mission and encourage others to accept the mission of generosity as well.

Let’s do our part to let #anygift spark a revolution of change and make a difference to help those in need, help build value in others, and help erase the pain and heartache that so many face.
Our nation needs it, our community needs it, and our veterans deserve it. By working together, we can spark a revolution of change and make a real difference for many generations to come.

To learn more about Warriors Never Give Up and their mission of changing the lives of our nation’s heroes, visit http://www.WarrriorsNeverGiveUp.org.

Brett Bastian
Co-founder of Warriors Never Give Up

Gun violence and inspiring community

IMG_4820It seems that when gun violence occurs, the knee-jerk response is to blame guns, gun owners, gun manufacturers, ammunition companies, the NRA, and just about anyone else we can; which fails to identify the true reason behind the hatred, disrespect, and distrust toward human nature, life, and death. Today we have a social crisis of epidemic proportions in the press pushing negativity and political chaos, often siding with the most powerful voices or organizations, failing to identify the true problem causing great hurt in America. As a proud Veteran, gun owner, father, husband, law-abiding citizen, and someone who takes pride in being an American; I am grateful to our founding fathers, congress, the senate, the NRA, the supreme court, and anyone else who has been willing to stand up and fight for my second amendment rights of owning a gun. To me it’s quite simple: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people as neither the gun nor the bullet pulls the trigger. There is a genuine and emergent problem on our hands and if we don’t come down to the root of problem more lives will tragically and senselessly be lost.

Today’s human nature is causing a state of helplessness in our society; creating egocentric, blaming, self-absorbed individuals lacking purpose, passion, respect, and responsibility toward their actions, reactions, and perspective. If we truly want to make a difference in our current society, we need to get back to the basis that once made this country great. As a society, we need to start focusing on critical words like purpose, responsibility, and respect; encourage community as neighbors help one another; stop being jealous; and empower and encourage each other.

It’s time to change our course in history. Gun violence is not about the gun, ammunition, the NRA, or the gun manufacturer. It’s not about race, sexual orientation, or religion. It’s about human nature and choice. In order to fix the problem we need to change our culture. Let’s inspire this country to come together, respect our differences, and make America safe and great again. We all have the power to change if we work together. All lives matter.

Brett Bastian
Brandon SD

Merry Christmas

Christmas is truly a special time of the year for many of us. Family, presents, great food, fellowship, and a few days off of work highlight this special holiday. But if you’re like me, our busy lifestyles take center stage to the true meaning of Christmas– not his birthday but the hope in God’s promise of his love and forgiveness through the birth of his only son in a simple manger. God owes us nothing. Hope in this country lives in bravery of our nations’ heroes who fight for our freedom and the promises in Jesus Christ. Let’s get back to the basics of this great country and put Jesus where he belongs; front and center. Don’t take another day for granted. Praise the name of Jesus, for alone he is worthy.     B