Fort Rucker Wounded Warriors hunt raises money for project
November 4, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Some Wounded Warriors had their first hunting experience Oct. 23-31 thanks to the Wounded Warrior Project in the Wiregrass area.
Retired Spc. Lance Gieselman and Sgt. 1st Class Philip Stowe, 6th Military Police Detachment physical security specialist, had little to no hunting experience before participating in the Wounded Warrior Project hunt, according to Sgt. 1st Class Gary Everette, Fort Rucker retention noncommissioned officer.
"The whole idea behind this is to give (wounded warriors) another team building exercise," he said. "It allows them to be in control and decide whether or not to shoot (an animal)."
Several different hunts occurred on- and off-post, Everette said. While on post, Gieselman and Stowe both managed to shoot their first turkeys. Neither had ever hunted turkey and Fort Rucker is the only place in Alabama that has a fall turkey season.
"This is a blast," Gieselman said. "I thought that we'd just be going to places around Fort Rucker, but they took us out to a lot of different places."
Gieselman lost a leg to an improvised explosive device while on a routine mission in Iraq seven years ago. He also sustained a broken back and doctors thought he wouldn't be able to walk again. Today, he uses a prosthetic leg and cane, but is able to walk on his own.
Stowe said he enjoyed hunting turkey so much, it may become a regular event for him.
"I'd love to do it again," he said. "I'll definitely be doing this again next year."
The Wounded Warrior project, through donations from the public and sponsors, was able to provide the hunters with weapons and an automated, partially solar-powered, lift to use during the weeks' hunting events.
For Gieselman, the automated lift made hunting in wooded areas much easier.
"This thing is great," he said. "It goes up really high and gives me a great view of the area. The sponsors for this have been really great to us."
Jeff Mira, of Eufaula, Ala., has allowed the Wounded Warrior Project to use his land for hunting deer the past two years and said it's something he "truly enjoys doing."
"As long as they're doing the hunts, I'll open my land to them," he said. "It's great to be able to give something back to them and show support."
The week-long hunt activities came to a close Saturday at Lake Tholocco's West Beach Pavilion where winners were announced for biggest turkey, Everette said. More than $100,000 was raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, he added.
CW3 John Lightsey, 1st Bn., 145th Aviation Regt., took first place, Stowe took second place and Everette took third.
"It was a great event and it's definitely going to be around for a long time to come," said Everette.
He added that, as a result of the project's fund raising over the last three years, the Wounded Warrior Project has been able to establish a hunting ground in Coffee County specifically for Wounded Warrior Project hunts. The grounds can be utilized year-round and is strictly for those in the Wounded Warrior Program.
"This is a great thing because now I don't have to wait a whole year to take these guys out on a hunt," Everette said. "We're currently looking for people to help us get the land ready by doing things like setting up feed plots."
For more information on the Wounded Warrior Project visit <a href="http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org" target="_blank">www.woundedwarriorproject.org</a>.
For more information about this hunt or how to become involved with the local Wounded Warrior Project, call 334-379-0206 or 255-0667.