2021 Pathfinder Award Winner – Jason Seaton

From being a walk-on wide receiver at the University of Tennessee to serving with the US Army on the shores of the Red Sea, Jason Seaton’s active life dramatically changed on a snowy, February day in 1996 when he broke his neck while inner tubing in the snow. Having just turned 21 and being paralyzed from the chest down with limited arm movement, Jason found himself with a lot of uncertainty about his new life. It was through having a personal relationship with Jesus and his love for the outdoors that gave Jason a purpose for living.

Jason’s love for the outdoors came at an early age. He was hunting ginseng with his dad at the age of 5, shot a grouse and squirrel after getting a 410 shotgun for Christmas at the age of 7, and killed his first buck at the age of 11. Hunting has never meant so much to Jason as it does now! The peacefulness of being surrounded by God’s creation often becomes the medicine that strengthens Jason’s drive to be positive.

In 2003 Jason put his faith in God and moved an hour away to attend college. Six years later he had earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of TN while working two part-time jobs. One as a peer support group leader at Patricia Neal Rehab Center and the other as an Independent Living Specialist at the disABILITY Resource Center in Knoxville.

Jason noticed the absence of bobwhite quails in his area. In 2012 he contacted the local Natural Resource Conservation Service office and enrolled his property in their Environmental Quality Incentive Program. This consist of select cutting of trees, eradicating harmful weeds and planting native grasses that attracts insects. Wanting to be more involved in wildlife projects, Jason became a member of his county NWTF Chapter in 2013, the Pigeon River Longbeards, where he was elected President and has served for the past 9 years.

June 2014, Jason’s prayers were answered when he became an instant dad to 2 teenage girls and a 6-year-old boy when he married his beautiful wife Angela at their Sevier County farm. Becoming a dad was important to Jason because of his love for the outdoors. Jason got to teach his son how to fish on the same creekbanks he grew up fishing on and hunt the same woods he hunted as a young boy. With over 30 deer, 10 turkeys and an antelope taken since his accident, Jason’s hunting highlights have been being with his son when he harvested his first squirrel, dove, whitetail buck and Tom turkey! Getting people outdoors is important to Jason. Anytime he gets a new piece of hunting equipment, he donates what he no longer uses. When Jason isn’t chasing wildlife on his farm, Jason can be found sharing his testimony at the local dentition center every few months or at his church where he leads a Veterans group each week.

Since 2000, SCI Foundation has provided more than $80 million to promote science-based conservation through wildlife research, capacity building in governments, youth and teacher education, and humanitarian programs that show the importance of the hunting community in society around the world. Growth of SCI Foundation has continued to gain momentum through charitable donations from SCI members and direct grants from local chapters and the SCI organization. Throughout the world, SCI’s approximately 50,000 members and 190 chapters contribute time, talent, and financial support to local, national, and international projects.


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