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Wounded Veterans Hunt Program in Full Swing
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 • Posted December 7, 2011

We want to remind all of you to put our big meal and hunt on your calendars for the 6th and 7th of January at the Eckert Civic Center. We will be cooking up around a hundred pounds of sirloin, plus some Elgin sausage, maybe even a wild hog or two, and all the trimmings. If all goes as planned, and all the ladies come through as they always do, there will be more salads, sides, cookies, and desserts than we can eat, so all we are asking is for all of you to come out and support our wounded and paralyzed veterans. Last year we fed around 250 people, maybe this year we can get it up to 300 or so. Between now and then, we will be raffling a 270 rifle at several businesses around town. You can purchase tickets there or call me at 347-6256 or 2531 to pick some up.Before we talk about the hunt, we need to acknowledge some new supporters of our program. And we will also thank our regular supporters in subsequent articles. First of all, one of our most loyal supporters has been the Country Gals at Country Home Health, and we have been very remiss in not thanking them publicly for their support, so this year we want to doubly thank them. Erna Frac Sand is a very generous new contributor to our program, as are Steve and Brenda Chambers. Merle and Doris Cope are new supporters, and the Mason Lions Club doubled last years contribution. Mason Feed Store provided us with a mobile shinning rack which attaches to the pickup receiver hitch which has proved invaluable on a hunt we will tell you about later.Our activities began this year when Pam Armstrong asked if we could bring some warriors up to be guests of honor for the rodeo during Roundup weekend in July. We had four young Purple Heart recipients for the weekend, one who had multiple awards of the Purple Heart and was twenty-one years old. They had a grand time, and of course were treated royally.In September the John Haines and Dewey Eckert families hosted several hunters for a weekend of dove hunting and good eating. As usual, we helped maintain the national average by shooting a lot of shells and not shooting a lot of doves. But we did accomplish the main goal—getting those wounded veterans out of the hospital for a few days and out in the country and letting them just relax and enjoy themselves. One of these men was in a Texas guard unit from Eagle Pass, a deputy sheriff by trade but also in the DEA. He had received such severe wounds he had been retired from the military and would not be able to serve in the sheriffs department nor the DEA. So a big loss to three agencies.A couple of months ago, we were approached by a local family with the most selfless gesture imaginable. The Patricia Behrens family had decided to change from an exotic game ranch to an exclusive whitetail operation. She and her family have donated their exotic herd to our operation if we are able to harvest them. We have been hunting these animals with soldiers from Brooke Army Medical Center, the Paralyzed Vets of America, and the Warrior Transition Unit out of Fort Hood. We have been fairly successful in taking twenty-five of a targeted 100 animals so far, but it is a challenging undertaking with most of the hunters being amputees or confined to wheelchairs. It is at the same time a very humbling and rewarding experience. We thank Logan, Cracker, and Tanner for their help in processing these animals. And by the way, when you see us in the restaurants, come on over and visit with these soldiers.And now, back to the big hunt, Friday, 6th of January. The meal is at high noon. We will have thirty hunters, which will equate to about fifty people when you add a required doctor, pharmacist, nurses, support people, wives, and children. We also have people along to process the deer. Last year we had a member of the National Board of the Paralyzed Veterans of America drive in from Phoenix. He was so impressed by your support he procured a second donation to the state PVA earmarked for the Mason operation, and rumors are that he is sending a couple of officers from a northeast chapter to observe our operation just to see how we do things here. Mossy Oak will also be here again after filming a hunt with our veterans last year on the Tommy and Joyce Durst Ranch, so maybe we will get some state exposure. We will be hunting on abut fifteen ranches in the area and separate letters have gone out to them. If you want to host a hunt, call us at 347-6256 or 2531.So to close this article up, good things are happening here in Mason County for our veterans. We know that our county is a military oriented county, rich in military history, and from the number of our youth going into the armed forces, a future bright for the military. We look forward to seeing you on the 6th and 7th. And as I always say, it will be a feel good thing!

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