- Associated Press - Monday, April 16, 2018

MAUD, Texas (AP) - After coming close to death during an enemy ambush 14 years ago, U.S. Army Capt. Matt Fisk said he finds new life, identity and purpose by helping fellow veterans find the same thing.

The Texarkana Gazette reports after a few months of careful consideration, Fisk relocated and this month officially re-opened his Lancer Legacy Ranch, at its new 25,000-square-foot home, the former Maud Restitution Center.

“We want to use this place to help veterans who have lost their way in life and who want a new life again after their experience in war,” Fisk, who serves as the ranch’s executive director, said. “We want to help veterans leave here stronger than they were when they came here.”

The ranch, which initially opened near Mount Pleasant, Texas, now has room for up to 24 veterans who may need help after their overseas combat experience. Many are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat connected psychological ailments.

Following a ceremonial U.S. flag raising outside the ranch’s new home, Fisk spoke about his harrowing combat experience while he and his unit, known as Task Force Lancer of the U.S. Army’s 2-5 Cavalry Regiment, were serving in Sadr City, Iraq, during part of Operation Iraq Freedom between March 2, 2004, and March 15, 2005.

Fisk’s unit encountered an enemy ambush April 4, 2004, in Sadr City.

“Our platoon and vehicles came under and ambush in the city that was densely populated with about 2.5 million people,” he said. “Our rescue party came charging out for us, but they came into their own ambush and six of their men died while trying their best to rescue our platoon. They jumped into their vehicles and drove into what amounted to a shooting gallery. This mission (the Lancer Legacy Ranch) was made possible by their sacrifice.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Aron Alexander, who served with Fisk’s outfit, also spoke in tribute to the ranch’s development and purpose.

“Many people who join military service usually have their own reasons for joining - some say they want to travel and see the world, while others might say they joined to earn money for college,” Alexander said. “But there are those who join and decide that they want to make it their profession and continue to serve and we all owe these guys a debt of gratitude for the blood, sweat, toil and tears they put into this. You guys are doing God’s work!”

Fisk said that the building is now already being used by three veterans.

“We will also need your prayers to make this happen,” he said. “For now on, it’s day-one and it’s wheels on.”


Information from: Texarkana Gazette, http://www.texarkanagazette.com

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