By Ms Tracy Robillard (USACE)December 20, 2011
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District and the Outdoor Dream Foundation have come together under a Challenge Partnership Agreement to provide five new wheelchair-accessible hunting blinds at Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake in Elberton, Ga.
The Outdoor Dream Foundation is an Anderson, S.C.-based non-profit organization that provides meaningful hunting and fishing adventures for children who have been diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. The Corps' Savannah District signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Foundation in August formalizing a mutually-beneficial partnership between the two groups. The recent agreement to construct hunting blinds stems from the partnership established by the MOU.
The Challenge Partnership Agreement authorizes the Corps to accept contributions from a willing partnering organization to apply to a specific, mutually-beneficial project. Under the agreement, the Corps donated excess building material to Outdoor Dream for the construction of five semi-permanent blinds to be placed on Russell Project lands. In return, Outdoor Dream volunteers assembled and transported the blinds. Another local organization, Faith Hunters for Youth of Calhoun Falls, S.C., contributed paint for the blinds and plans to assist in painting them in coming weeks
Brothers Lynwood and Nell Yoder of Pickens, S.C., constructed the blinds. Lynwood Yoder was a member of Outdoor Dream as a child and continues to volunteer his time and services to support its mission.
"It's been great working with Lynwood and all the Outdoor Dream members to provide a more enjoyable hunting experience for disabled veterans and youth," said Park Ranger Erin Parnell. "The blinds provide protection from the elements for children and adults while they hunt for deer and turkey. They also provide a sheltered place to observe wildlife."
The Corps used the blinds for the first time Dec. 8 and 9 during a deer hunt hosted by the Russell Project and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The veterans harvested several deer at the event. The blinds were also used, Dec. 16, during a youth hunt with Outdoor Dream and Faith Hunters for Youth.