Disabled Hunter Program
Disabled hunters and shooters across the country are benefiting from the generous gifts of time, goods and services provided by SCI members, who try to make outdoor sports available and accessible to the disabled hunter. Through a network of SCI chapters around the world, members have created partnerships with both public and private organizations, as well as with generous individuals, who support the Disabled Hunter™ program, always hoping to improve the quality of life for hunters and shooters with disabilities.
Denver Chapter of Safari Club International Supports Disabled Hunter Program
Beautiful Bennet, Colorado was home to an amazing event at the beginning of the year. On January 12, 2014, the Valhalla Hunt Club hosted a very special pheasant hunt. Several patients from a world-famous spine and brain trauma hospital were loaded into UTVs, two at a time, handed shotguns, and sent out in search of upland birds.
Accompanying the patients were staff from Craig Hospital’s Therapeutic Recreation Department (T-Rec), volunteers from Freedom Hunters (freedomhunters.org) and family members. The twenty guests at Valhalla had a wonderful outing. Everyone had a chance to shoot, and for a brief moment, the patients were not patients, they were just normal people.
There is magic in our forests, camaraderie in the meadows, excitement in the streams, but most of all…there is freedom in the hunt. Unfortunately, for millions of Americans, life can feel like a prison. So many of our loved ones, friends and neighbors are enslaved by chronic pain, physical disability, depression, PTSD, traumatic-brain injury, severe spine and/or brain trauma and more.
Fourteen years ago, Bob Adwar sat on the board of directors of the Denver branch of Safari Club International (SCI). Board members sought to expand the humanitarian work of the nonprofit organization, and Adwar approached Craig Hospital with an innovative concept. Shortly thereafter, several patients, T-Rec staff and volunteers were on a guided pheasant hunt. The positive impact on the patients immediately apparent, and the relationship between Craig Hospital, SCI and Freedom Hunters was set in stone.
Adwar organizes many of the events, he works miracles with pennies, and he still finds the time to run a successful small business. Over the span of 14-years and over 150 hunting and fishing trips…Adwar has attended every single event. He serves as a guide, a mentor, a shoulder to lean on and much more. He is deeply committed to positively impacting the lives of very special Americans and their family members.
In a recent interview for SAFARI Magazine, Adwar explained why his dedication is unwavering;
Many of the participants are in a really “dark” place when we first find them. They are broken mentally and physically, and they want nothing to do with anyone. They are; angry, hurting physically, suffering emotionally, losing the battle against hopelessness, over-medicated, and they are extremely short on hope.
Our brave Wounded Warriors and severely traumatized friends and neighbors deserve much better.
The participants at these events often find themselves unemployable and severely depressed. Some have all but given-up by the time we have an opportunity to help.
But…when you get them in a duck blind with a shotgun, or in the middle of a river with with a fly rod…the transformation is instantaneous. They loosen up, and the “hurt” etched into the wrinkles on their face dissipates. And…by the end of the day, they are worn-out, but most of the group members are also smiling uncontrollably.
Every time I see that transformation, I remember why this work is so important.
Since its founding, SCI has worked to conserve wildlife and protect the rights of hunters worldwide. Humanitarian funds from the Denver branch have made it possible for SCI and Freedom Hunters to place wounded warriors all over the world on private and supportive hunting and fishing trips.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this type of work is the feeling of normalcy. For a moment, the participant is not a wounded warrior or a patient, they are a hunter, and thanks to SCI, Freedom Hunters, and so many others…they are discovering the freedom in the hunt.
Disabled hunters and shooters across the country are benefiting from the generous gifts of time, goods and services provided by SCI members, who try to make outdoor sports available and accessible to the disabled hunter. There are over 555,000 hunters and shooters with disabilities in the United States alone. Through a network of SCI chapters around the world, members have created partnerships with both public and private organizations, as well as with generous individuals, who support the Disabled Hunter™ program, always hoping to improve the quality of life for hunters and shooters with disabilities.
For more information on the Disabled Hunters program and other SCI Foundation Humanitarian Services Programs, contact Karen Crehan, Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-520-620-1220 ext. 231.