What do you get when you bring together a few dozen deserving Armed Forces veterans and active duty personnel, a team of caring volunteers and the great outdoors? According to McNett staffers who recently participated in Hunting with Heroes, you get an overwhelming sense of pride and gratitude, and an experience that stays with you for a long, long time.
Hunting with Heroes is an annual shooting, hunting and fishing weekend designed to support veterans and military personnel who sacrifice so much for our country. The event offers them an opportunity to spend time together in the outdoors, and participate in activities they might not otherwise have access to. Hunting with Heroes gives vets and servicemembers the chance to relax and have fun in a welcoming environment.
Welcoming Vets Home
For many vets, returning from Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan has meant a difficult transition to civilian life. Some didn’t receive a real homecoming, or the gratitude they deserve for their sacrifices. For others, leaving their buddies has meant losing the connection of shared experiences. And for active duty military, work and family responsibilities don’t always leave enough time for recreation and getting away from it all.
Hunting with Heroes helps on all of these levels. It is a way to give these men and women the thanks they deserve. To show gratitude by giving back. And to allow them to unwind with their own community of comrades.
Shooting, Hunting, Great Food and a Party Equals Fun For All
With the help of generous sponsors like Scott Sneer’s Alpha Ecological, Jake Carse of Fikkes Outdoor Innovations, Blaze Outdoor Adventures and JRS Worldwide, as well as a legion of volunteers, guests were treated to clay pigeon shoots, pheasant hunting and steelhead fishing. Experts like Gary Loomis volunteered their time to teach and guide participants, while others cooked up hearty meals and “the best ribs ever,” according to one participant. Eastern Washington’s rolling hills, the Klickitat River and Horseshoe Bend Ranch provided an amazing backdrop for all the fun.
The weekend culminated with a community party, featuring a band and beer garden in the center of Klickitat, Wash. Scott Sneer took the stage to express his and the volunteers’ pride and appreciation for our servicemembers. His only request was that they relax, get to know one another and have a great time.
McNett Supports Veterans and Servicemembers
McNett was honored to sponsor and participate in Hunting with Heroes. Four of our staff members made the trip to Klickitat to volunteer for the weekend. They helped with shooting, hunting and fishing activities, and shuttled participants to and from their hotels. Back home, additional staff packed Aquamira®, Gear AidTM, Camo Form® and Outgo® products into reusable gear bags, custom-made by Tactical Tailor. Each guest received a product-filled bag to use for upcoming adventures.
What were the outcomes of Hunting with Heroes? “It was great to see people get outside and learn what they can do, and how much fun it can be,” said Chad Larsen of McNett. “And it was amazing to see how passionate the event volunteers were. They believe strongly in Hunting with Heroes, and will do whatever is needed to support veterans.”
But it wasn’t just the volunteers who feel strongly about Hunting with Heroes. Many vets and servicemembers were overwhelmed by the event. Chad shared that one vet expressed he would never be able to afford such a trip or the gear he received. He could hardly believe this group could be so giving. “I just told him we wanted to express our appreciation for his service,” said Chad.
One Vet’s Experience
Paul Sluznis is a 20-year Army and Army National Guard Air Assault Infantry veteran who participated in Hunting with Heroes. He was impressed with the number of volunteers, as well as their level of caring. “They catered to our every need, and they genuinely wanted a better understanding of who we are. They went out of their way to get to know us, and it was just incredible.”
His favorite part of the weekend was the pheasant hunting. “I have done some big-game hunting, but never bird hunting,” Paul said. "I loved it! I was going to buy a cooler to bring my birds home, but they assured me they would be cleaned, put on dry ice and sent to me.”
Paul continued, ”I’ve been to other veteran events and they don’t compare. The people putting on Hunting with Heroes really cared about us.”
All of McNett’s staffers echo Chad’s feelings: “Being around these patriots was a life-changing experience, and I can’t wait for next year.”
For more information on Hunting with Heroes, see http://www.prweb.com/releases/hunting_with_heroes/veterans/prweb10002852.htm.