RRAD gears up for Heroes Hunt
October 27, 2011
For the second year, Red River Army Depot's Land Management Branch, along with the help of several sponsors, will host the Heroes Hunt for wounded warriors. The hunt is scheduled for December 16-18 at Elliott Lake.
This year the hunt committee is preparing for 30 hunters, a great increase from the five last year. Hunters will travel from the Warrior Transition Brigades of Ft. Hood, Ft. Sam Houston and Ft. Bliss, Texas.
The event has received a massive number of volunteers with over 150 people from various organizations on and off the depot willing to lend a hand to these deserving men and women.
"We are getting great community involvement for this hunt," said Scott Van Zile, co-coordinator for the hunt. "I've got someone calling or stopping to talk to me every day about volunteering to help with this event."
People are not just saying they want to volunteer but several groups have already put their words into action. The Red River Rod and Gun Club purchased the hunting blinds for the weekend. Members of the Texarkana 4H assembled some of the blinds during a visit to the depot. Members of the American Legion Women's Auxiliary from New Boston, Tex. will help serve during one meal and the local URS Corporation, a contractor/partner of RRAD, has volunteered to sponsor the meal Friday night.
RRAD's Morale, Welfare and Recreation office is also furnishing meals as well as 15 cabins for the heroes to enjoy. The entire weekend is free of charge to the heroes.
"This heroes hunt would not be possible without MWR, Jim Collins and his staff," said Mike Foster, RRAD hunt administrator and co-coordinator for the hunt. "They have been a tremendous help and we honestly just could not have pulled it off without them."
The weekend will begin with a light lunch after which the heroes will travel to the gun range to become familiar with their weapons. Later that evening the heroes will return to the recreation facility for dinner. Three meals will be served on Saturday as well as breakfast on Sunday morning. During the course of the weekend the heroes will hunt four times and also be given time to relax. Each hunter will be accompanied by a volunteer during hunt times.
"Last year the heroes told us that rested more in the two and a half days they were at this hunt than they have rested since returning from deployment or being active duty," said Van Zile. "We will gladly accept anyone who wants to show their support to these heroes but we want to make sure they still get that same peace and quiet that they are looking for."
Foster stated they have received interest from celebrities who would like to attend the hunt in the future.
"It's not that we don't want to have celebrities here but that draws a crowd to the event," said Foster. "We want to make sure that these heroes rest while they are here with us. That's our main goal."
When asked why he started this event last year, Foster's answer was simple.
"I just want to help these Soldiers, that's all."
The RRAD command group will have an opportunity to interact with the heroes during dinner Saturday night. Both Foster and Van Zile stated they want to keep the dinner informal but allow the opportunity for others to talk to the heroes.
"The heroes enjoy sharing a conversation with the volunteers as well as our command group during the dinner," said Foster. "That interaction is a good thing for them."
The Land Management Branch will also host a youth hunt Oct. 29 for Water Springs Ranch and Texarkana Orphanage. Twenty children will spend the day hunting, eating and enjoying time with each other.
As with the Heroes Hunt, the hunt committee also received great sponsorship from several organizations. TexAmericas Center is responsible for the land used for the hunt. The organization has designated a special area that will be specifically used for this youth hunt as well as others to come. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens purchased the hunt license for each child and MWR will furnish the meal for the day.