By Richard DeLisle, SE Michigan Bowhunters Chapter President
SE Michigan Bowhunters chapter of SCI has made a donation to Legends Ranch (2022 W. 14 Mile Rd., Bettley, Mich. 49309) for the last 6 years to support their youth, purple heart hunt. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid 19 virus it was decided not to hold the youth hunt this year. It was decided by our board that we would send a Purple Heart Veteran. I knew of a perfect young Veteran that I had worked with at Camp Liberty. I had Abe Marvin send in his application to Legends Ranch and he was picked to be one of Purple Hearts to enjoy one of the greatest white tail hunts a man could ever dream of going on. I asked if he would please write a story about the experience he had at Legends Ranch.
Here Is HIs Story…
7th September 2020
US Army Veteran
To the wonderful team at Safari Club,
I wanted to write to thank you from the bottom of my heart for selecting me for the Purple Heart Hunt at Legends Ranch. I am not sure you will ever know how truly grateful I am for this opportunity and the experience I was given, but I will make it my mission to convey my appreciation to your organization and donors.
I find it difficult most times to keep my spirits up with the things that I have been through; from being deployed to Iraq and being injured in combat. In 2007, I was on a mission in the city of Mosul, and our platoon was ambushed. As a team leader, I took my responsibilities seriously, to keep my fellow soldiers and our country safe; unfortunately, I was hit by a RPG (rocket-propelled grenade), which would forever change my life. I spent several months overseas until I was stable enough to be transferred to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. I have had 13 surgeries, on my hand, mostly on the left side of my body, primarily my leg and foot; including bone reconstruction, skin grafts, shrapnel removal, etc. I was told I would lose my leg, then that I would never walk again and then that I would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of my life. To say that I had lost hope would be an understatement, but I worked hard and pushed myself, and after nearly 3 years in hospitals, rehabilitation, and physical therapy, I was walking on my own. I have permanent nerve damage, and I suffered a traumatic brain injury that makes certain things tough for me, but I am alive, and so thankful for that. I find it important to take every single day to be thankful for this life, and that I was given a second chance and to help others see the good in every day.
Hunting is something I am passionate about, and the one thing that truly brings me peace and happiness, so to be chosen for the Purple Heart Hunt at Legends Ranch by your organization was truly and honor. I do still deal with daily struggles, physically and mentally, that make it hard to see any positives at time. I thought it was important for you to know how much the time that I spent at Legend Ranch has impacted me. It was a good rest for me, and helped me in ways you’ll never know; with relaxation, laughter, and the good times I was able to take part in, I felt as though my troubles were gone for the time being. It is also nice to be around so many other Veterans that understand what you have been through and can share in that with you. So for that, I thank your organization immensely, as I would have never been able to go to a place like Legends Ranch on my own. I greatly appreciate the opportunity given to me, and hope you know how much it meant to participate. I went home feeling better that I have in a very long time.
The entire experience, from beginning to end, was so positive and wonderful; everyone was welcoming, and so kind and genuine to all of us. We were so impressed with everything-from the facility and land, to the hard work and dedication of the guides, and compassion in which we received from everyone. It was extremely fun, and an experience I will carry with me forever. And it was all possible because of your organization. So, thank you again, a million times over, for allowing me this opportunity. As experiences go, this one was truly life changing, and a positive I will carry with me for the rest of my life. What you did for me put a lasting smile on my face, which I’m sure will stay for quite some time.
Purple Heart Recipient
US Army Veteran
To say legends is a great place is truly an understatement. Before the Covid Virus the suicide rate for Veterans was about 22 per day but since the virus hit the rate has doubled if not tripled as the Veterans were stuck home and could not be out talking to friends and getting all the inner problems out.
With the great caring people at Legends Ranch and the great outdoors they have done a great job for our Veterans. Not only did all 5 Purple Heart Vets get fantastic Bucks that the Ranch is mounting for them they also received custom made flags, special dog tags that will be displayed in the Wildlife Museum and Unique Challenge Coins, also they and a guest spent4 fantastic days ending in a special Ceremony dedicated to our Veterans. For a fantastic hunt with amazing people contact Robert Sergi@legendsranch.com
God Bless Legends Ranch and God Bless America.