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Finding Peace in the North Woods

Thom Mauck and his faithful four-legged friend Josie live for long walks in Maine’s pristine northern woodlands. “You get a few miles north of town and there’s nobody,” Thom relays. The peaceful serenity and soothing stillness of the great outdoors are therapeutic, especially for combat veterans like Thom. With an outdoor cooler full of drinks and treats, they can take the whole day to explore new trails and find comfort among the tall pines and untouched waterways.

Stepping Out from the Dark

Thom served his country in the US Air Force as a Pararescue Specialist (PJ) during the waning and tumultuous years of the Vietnam War. The PJs are the guys that get dropped out of helicopters and airplanes to rescue and treat injured servicemen in remote areas of the warzone, so “that others may live.” He saw more than his fair share of action in the jungle.

When the war was over, he caught a ride back to the States on passenger planes and buses. He didn’t exactly get a hero’s welcome. Like other veterans at that time, Thom was greeted with indifference, scornful looks, and outright hostility as he slogged his way back home in his dress uniform.

Thom still struggles with his experiences from the past but, fortunately, his service dog is helping him progress on his healing journey. Through their time in the untamed wilderness, Thom is able to find peace in the beauty of nature. From rocky trails to hidden fishing holes, Thom and Josie have a busy spring and summer ahead of them. The Allagash is calling.

Equipped for the Long Haul

With his daily routine and frequent outdoor excursions with family and fellow vets, Thom’s been through plenty of coolers over the years but “none measure up to Cordova.” He does his due diligence to find gear that lasts from companies that stand by their products. Thom also prioritizes American-made gear, especially from veteran-owned businesses.

Thom discovered Cordova Outdoors and found that the product line, along with its mission and values, lined up with his expectations. “They care about the product and their customers,” he observed. He is not only impressed with the overall quality standard but he appreciates how accommodating Cordova’s staff has proved to be time and again. After making a mistake with an online order, he called Cordova and “customer service handled the issue personally,” making sure that Thom got exactly what we wanted before the order shipped.

Now, Thom has three Cordova coolers that he uses for outdoor adventures both big and small. The cooler from his last major weekend trip still had some ice in it and that was 23 days ago. He’s ready to fill it back up and get out there again as Spring breathes new life into the Allagash backcountry. He’s thinking about taking some veterans on a fishing expedition deep into the wilderness. Nothing heals the mind, body, and soul like building camaraderie and sharing a few stories in the great outdoors. With Josie leading the way, Thom can count on another successful and restorative outing.

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