By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterNovember 3, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- In a weekend filled with events to keep Soldiers and families entertained, one event also provided a way for the community give back to Soldiers who sacrificed mightily for their country.
The day of events began as hundreds come out to West Beach on Lake Tholocco Oct. 29 ready to run, with many dressed in costume as they lined up for the Spooky 5K and then a costume contest and chili cook off, but the event with the most impact was the culmination of the Wounded Warrior Fall Hunt, according to John Clancy, Fort Rucker Outdoor Recreation manager.
The hunt, which ran Oct. 26-29, benefitted wounded warriors by providing an event for fellowship and camaraderie, said Clancy.
"Basically what this event is for is to get some of these wounded warriors out," he said. "This is a great way for them to meet new people and other fellow wounded warriors, who they can talk to and enjoy the outdoors with."
Twenty Five wounded warriors participated in this year's hunt, which Clancy is calling the best they've had so far, and winners for this year's hunter were Bobby Daugette, veteran, for heaviest pig at 175 pounds; and Jeremy Cook, veteran, who took first place for most pigs, with two.
Despite the hunt being a competition, Clancy said it was all about being able to come together and share the love for outdoor recreation.
Oftentimes, wounded warriors suffer from post-traumatic stress and depression, so they might not want to be active, but getting them out and about is a great way to combat that, said the ODR manager.
"We actually had one wounded warrior participate who hadn't left his house in two years," said Clancy, adding that, through a mutual friend, they were able to get him involved in hunting and eventually to join the hunt.
"All the hunters and the veterans get to meet each other and the guides, and they all make personal relationships with each other," said the ODR manager. "They come from all over the place and make good connections and good friends -- and that's what it's all about. The prizes and the equipment are just a bonus."
All proceeds from the hunt go toward providing wounded warriors with equipment and recreational activities through outdoor recreation. In past years, the hunt has provided the funds to be able to provide a myriad of equipment for wounded warriors, including two handicap-accessible elevated tree stands and track chair, a customized handicap-accessible boat with specialized controls, as well as a handicap-accessible travel trailer that wounded warriors can use to take on trips.
Clancy said all of this is possible through the efforts of the outdoor recreation team, numerous volunteers, as well as other organizations on post that help with the hunt, including the Directorate of Public Safety, the Directorate of Public Works, the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, and range operations.
"It's not just me, it's the whole team -- all of the volunteers and civilians, and the outdoor recreation team who give their time to make this all happen," said Clancy, adding that his passion for helping and serving wounded warriors stems from not being able to serve.
"I couldn't serve my country and these individuals go over there and (serve this country) and often come back hurt or see their friends get hurt, and I'm lucky enough not to have to see that," he said. "I want to repay them in any way that I can for everything that they've done -- it's just in my heart."