Tag: Disabled Veteran

Blake S.’s Testimonial

Blake S.’s Testimonial

I had the opportunity to go on a bear hunt with send-a-vet and it gave me back something that I thought lost when I was medically discharged from the Army, the feeling of brotherhood. Harvesting my first bear was an amazing experience but the stories and laughs shared around the camp fire were the most memorable.

 

Thank you

CW2 Ret. Blake S.

Chris Loll’s Bear Hunt Story

Chris Loll’s Bear Hunt Story

Out of the corner of his eye, Chris caught a glimpse of movement. When he turned his head, he was stunned to see that a bear had appeared out of nowhere. Like a ghostly apparition, it had seemingly materialized out of thin air in the woods where no living creature was just seconds before. Chris felt his heartbeat and breathing rate quicken as he realized that he was looking directly at his quarry.

Slowly and cautiously, the creature moved silently through the woods and began to circle the bait site in search of danger. However, hunger eventually overcame restraint and the bear began to move in to the bait barrel for a snack. Chris carefully raised his rifle and began to take aim at the bear.

As he took the safety off in preparation for the shot, an audible “click” echoed through the forest. Startled by the sound, the bear stood upright and then ran a few yards towards the safety of the woods. There it stopped and looked around for the source of the unfamiliar sound.

Unbeknownst to the bear, it had stopped in the middle of a small gap in the vegetation that gave Chris a clear and unobstructed shot. Sensing that he only had seconds to act before the bear bolted for good, Chris quickly took aim and squeezed the trigger. The report of his .30-06 shattered the peaceful stillness of the afternoon.

Mortally wounded, the bear staggered at the shot and dashed back across the small clearing before attempting to climb a tree for safety from the unseen threat. It only made it a few feet up the tree before collapsing dead to the ground.

Though events like these are no doubt familiar to many bear hunters all over the United States, this was anything but a typical bear hunt. The hunter was Chris Loll, a disabled Marine Corps veteran, and his Idaho black bear hunt was sponsored and organized by Send-A-Vet, an organization dedicated to helping veterans by taking them on outdoor adventures.

This particular bear hunt was one of dozens of events sponsored by Send-A-Vet over the past few years. The organization, which is headquartered in the State of Washington, organizes hunts, fishing expeditions, rafting trips, and other outdoor events in order to assist wounded and disabled veterans.

Rick Sutter and MarkDaniel Brasel, who are both veterans themselves, do most of the leg work involved in planning and organizing these trips. Their primary goal is to get wounded and disabled veterans out of their homes and into the outdoors. The trips are fully paid for by donations and they strive to foster a safe and fun environment for veterans to enjoy the outdoors.

Send-A-Vet also prides itself on recreating the familiar bonds that develop between members of the military when they serve together. Since virtually everyone on these trips, from the hunters themselves to the volunteers, is a veteran, they have been extremely successful in this regard and countless friendships have developed between veterans that met on trips sponsored by Send-A-Vet.

Over the years, they have helped countless veterans recover from physical, emotional, and psychological wounds suffered in Iraq, Afgahnistan, and numerous other conflicts all over the world. The response from these veterans has been uniformly positive. Chris Loll is one of these veterans and he has attended several Send-A-Vet sponsored events (including two bear hunts and a wolf trapping class) first as a hunter, and later as a volunteer.

According to Chris: “It’s an experience that really recharges and resets you and gets you out of the house. It feels good to be in that environment again because I really miss that camaraderie. It’s like stepping back in time: you’re not so high strung and I could just feel the stress melting away when I arrived.”

Experiences like this have been literally life changing for countless veterans, many of whom did not think that they would be able to enjoy the outdoors again after being wounded. Send-A-Vet specifically tailors all of their outdoor adventures to each individual veteran and can accommodate veterans with a wide range of physical abilities including veterans in wheelchairs and those with visual impairment.

Send-A-Vet trips are not just for serious hunters either. They have taken out many veterans who have never hunted before and can loan a rifle to a veteran who needs one for one of their sponsored hunts.

Don’t want to hunt? That’s no problem either. Send-A-Vet organizes other outdoor events, like fishing or rafting trips as well. Regardless of the event, their trips are very low key and you can participate as much or as little as you would like. If you would rather just sit by the fire or enjoy being the woods on a Send-A-Vet trip, they are perfectly fine with that too.

If you are interested in making a donation, visit the Send-A-Vet web site. Wounded or disabled veterans may contact MarkDaniel Brasel directly for information on how to participate in a hunt or other outdoor adventure.

Shawn D.’s Testimonial

Shawn D.’s Testimonial

Send-A-Vet,

I want to take a moment and thank you for what you do and how you have helped me. I served in Afghanistan in 2013 where I was combat injured. I went through 3 back surgeries and 1 hand surgery. During my recovery on of my high school buddies (Mark Brasel) reached out to me about this group (Send-A-Vet) who helps wounded vets get out on some great outdoor trips. I contacted them and submitted my information and even attended their annual banquet which I might add was an awesome event to attend. This past spring you sponsored me on an all-expense paid Bear Hunt in Idaho. Not knowing what to expect going in I was very optimistic about the whole ordeal. I was picked up and drove all the way to Kooskie ID., which was a big step for me as it was the longest road trip I had been on since my last back surgery and I didn’t know how I would handle sitting that long. The staff and volunteers where very nice and hospitable to taking breaks and meeting all my needs. The other hunters and myself where put up in this beautiful cabin owned by the president of the club (Rick Sutter). He opened his home to us veterans to stay there for the duration of the hunting trip. All our meals and needs where met with the utmost care of the veterans.

The staff and volunteers catered to our needs and ensured that our disabilities where taken into consideration when determining where to place us for the best possible scenario. I have to say once I was taken to my hunting blind and left for the day to watch the side of the hill that it was the most at peace I had been in a long time. My mind filled with anticipation of seeing a bear in the wild that I had only seen in zoos let alone killing one. But I’m one who has been hunting and let down on several occasions but this was not the case. I successfully shot by first bear within the 2 hours I had been placed in that blind. I contacted the volunteers at the cabin and they came and retrieved my bear and proceeded back to the cabin to take care of the bear.  I spent the rest of my trip helping out fellow hunters and volunteers as they where all veterans from different branches of service. Not only was the trip successful but it was very rewarding.

This trip helped me relieve so much pain, stress, frustration, anger, and anxiety that I suffer from. Hanging out with fellow veterans gives me sense of belonging cause they understand what I’m going through cause they have been there to. There’s was no fighting or arguing between the branches of military. Just stories of good times and bad times with fellow veterans who can relate. I will continue to support Send-A-Vet in any way I can and give back what they have given me. I cannot explain in words how much this trip meant to me and my family, just know that you have helped another veteran get through some dark days and I have light at the end of the tunnel and it looks wonderful.

 

Thanks Send-A-Vet,

CW3 Shawn D.

Rudy K.’s Testimonial

Rudy K.’s Testimonial

Alaska Fishing Trip with Send-A-Vet Foundation

     I am a U.S. Army retiree with over 22 years of service with disabilities. I have a true love for fishing, hunting and the outdoors. I was lucky enough to find the great organization Send-A-Vet. They gave me a once in a life time opportunity to go to Alaska on a Halibut fishing trip. I was select with five others disabled vets to go to Rocky Point Resort in Petersburg, AK. This foundation paid for our airfare and The Resort donated the charter, food, lodging, and fish packing. This trip had Little or no expense to the veterans. I experience things that you only see on TV like glaciers, turquoise glacier waters, otters, killer whales, dolphins, huge halibut, and scenery that no words can describe.

     This trip also gave me something I had been missing, camaraderie. After many leave the service, we will never connect with people of this mind set. It was sure nice to be with people with similar experiences and talk about them. Not very many people in the world we can connect to like other service members even from different branches service.

           

Thanks, Send-A-Vet

Rudy S. K.

SFC, USA RETIRED

"Send-A-Vet"® is a Registered Trademark Federally certified 501c(3) non-profit SER. NO. 86-947,480, Filed 03-21-2016 UBI: 603339888, EIN: 46-3898253