By Emily Brainard, Army Flier StaffOctober 8, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Community members can support injured servicemembers while participating in some local people's favorite autumn sport.
The Wounded Warrior Project Fundraiser and Hunt runs Oct. 23-30, allowing sportsmen and women to hunt turkey and deer.
This is the third time a hunt has been conducted in honor of the project - which assists injured veterans and their Families - and has grown exponentially since the tradition started, said Staff Sgt. Gary Everett, event coordinator and post retention officer.
At least six wounded warriors will participate in this year's event, along with many Soldiers and civilians, he said.
Volunteers will assist the injured servicemembers in whatever way necessary, and offer a handicapped-accessible raised blind to give them the best shot at winning, Everett said.
Providing wounded warriors the chance to hunt "helps them build a new normal" and become more resilient, he said.
Many Soldiers are sports enthusiasts and hunting is a way to have fun in a safe environment, Everett said.
"It creates worth. They want to be productive in some way or form," he said.
For volunteer 2nd Lt. Chris Rose, of B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, participating in this event means helping out his comrades.
"You're helping someone who could be your friend. You're making their day or week," he said.
Knowing the WWP aids injured servicemembers is important to both Everett and Rose, since they understand they could find themselves in similar circumstances one day.
"It's an easy choice to volunteer," Rose said.
Hunting takes place throughout the week on post and in Barbour, Coffee and Houston counties. This is the first time local cities will participate, Everett noted.
"The community outreach this year has been incredible," he said. "The event has grown from boys who wanted to hunt to having Soldiers and civilians."
Hunters must sign up every morning at the West Beach Lake Tholocco pavilion during the week to lay claim to their designated hunting areas.
Deer may be hunted with bows only, Everett said, while turkey hunters may use shotguns and bows.
In order to hunt, participants must possess an Alabama hunting license and hunter safety card, Everett said. A $35 donation may be made to the WWP in lieu of the post permit's regular cost.
In addition to the hunt, a donation giveaway is hosted now through Oct. 30. Participaants can purchase tickets in hopes of winning items including a two-year sports car lease, jewelry, an all-terrain vehicle, weapons, trips and more.
"Every dollar we get goes right to the wounded warrior fund," said volunteer 2nd Lt. Chris Curran, of B Co., 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt. "It's a huge morale booster for them to get out and go hunting."
For more information on the hunt or ticket sale locations, call 255-2276.