March 16, 2009
Veterans Get the Gift of Hunting
By Kim Hiss
After Friday's post about a Prada-wearing hunter in need of an attitude adjustment, I thought I'd start this week off with a story about a few Pennsylvania hunters who make us proud to be sportsmen.
Scranton's Times Tribune ran an article today about a group of wounded vets from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, who were recently invited to spend five days at the Ringneck Ridge Hunting Preserve in the northeastern part of the state. Their trip was sponsored by the Hunts for Healing Fund, a project established by Preserve owners Mindy and John Piccotti along with a local veteran's family. Also taking part were The Pennsylvania State Fox and Coyote Hunters' Association, which gave each soldier a shotgun, ammo and other gifts, and members of Black Walnut Post 510 of the American Legion, who provided the honored guests with a steak dinner.
According to the story, the veteran guests included an Army sergeant from Tennessee, who'd lost a leg while serving in Afghanistan. The hosts included a veteran of Vietnam and a Navy retiree, Ross Colquhoun, who now coordinates the hunting and fishing program at Walter Reed. During their five days together they shot clays and pheasants, hunted for raccoon and coyote and enjoyed dinners of elk roast, Alaskan salmon and pheasant marsala.
In light of such generosity, what can I add? My very best wishes go out to those Pennsylvania sportsmen who pulled together to honor the sacrifice the returning troops have made -- and to all the sportsmen around the country involved in similar programs. The Hunts for Healing mission statement says, "This experience helps their recovery psychologically, emotionally, and socially -- getting warriors back to their daily lives." What an incredible gift from one hunter to another. -K.H.