We arrived near Fort Hood, Texas today at 11 am to start filming the therapy for our next family, the Huhtanen family. Shelly, Hayden, and Broden met us at the center, along with Nikki, the director of Autism Concepts. Their ABA based therapy seems to be helping Broden tremendously, and Hayden is even working with the tea so he can interact more with his brother. Be sure to check out our first picture form today’s therapy, it’s one of my favorites for the whole trip.
We then proceeded to Fort Hood itself to meet Master Sergeant Nick Connor from the PAO of the base, as well as Sgt Major Lupes. Both would serve as our watchful guides during our time on the base, and they were both very friendly and helpful. The team split up at this point, with Rene and Rosleny going to the armored areas to film the 1st Battalion 5th Cavalry regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, while Rich and Cassie went to the Exceptional Family Members Program headquarters and offices. It was a dream come true for Rene and Rosleny as you can see from so many of the pictures. We were even able to get footage of the horses that are still used for ceremonial events!
The team would meet back at the Huhtanen residence where Major Mark had just finished his shift as the operations officer for the batallion. After he walked through the door, the boys were happy to see him and he got them going on their Wii. Amazingly, we were able to split up the parents interviews and it was obvious from the get-go they had both done this before in front of a camera; Their unique challenges and triumphs as a military family and their work in advocacy will redefine how Americans handle autism for sure, and we will have this family to thank. Talk about stories, how about how they didn’t like each other on their first time meeting at an unannounced blind date, and what they’ve gone through to lobby Congress on their home front. It will be worth hearing once the movie comes out, I promise.
While our time together was short, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet such an amazing family. Be sure to come back tomorrow as we travel from Waco, Texas to Vance, Alabama in one day. We then meet Crystal and the A.Skate foundation on Thursday!
We love you all and look forward to hearing from you soon!