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Pathfinder Award and Hunts

Each year, Pathfinder Award winners are selected from among nominations submitted by SCI Chapters and individuals. The award winners are honored during a SCI Convention evening event for their life achievements demonstrating their ability to overcome disabling obstacles while remaining engaged in outdoor activities, helping their community and inspiring others. The winners of this prestigious award receive an all-expense paid safari to Africa for themselves and a caretaker.

 

The SCI Foundation Pathfinder program also provides funding to SCI Chapters in support of their activities that engage disabled, terminally ill, wounded military and veterans in outdoor activities. Often, the reintroduction to nature and hunting helps these hunters find their way to adapt to their life changes and challenges.

Pathfinder Award Recipient

2019 Pathfinder Award Recipient to Go on a South African Hunt-of-a Life-time

Marcus Steury was chosen from a competitive selection process by the SCIF Pathfinder Committee as this year’s Pathfinder Award recipient for the work he does to help other disabled individuals while continuing his passion for the outdoors and love of hunting.  He will be honored with this prestigious award at the 6th Annual Beretta and SCI Foundation Conservation Leadership Award Gala located at the Peppermill Hotel Casino on Tuesday, February 4, 2020.

 

Marcus Steury was born and raised in Hicksville, Ohio, a small town of about 3000 people in Northwest Ohio.  Born with spina bifida myelomeningocele, Marcus underwent 14 surgeries before the age of 2.  Marcus has never been able to walk, but that didn’t slow him down.  He got his first wheelchair at age 5.

 

Marcus graduated fifth in his high school class and obtained an associate degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Manufacturing.  Marcus currently works full time as an Engineering Technician for a company that manufactures orthopedic instruments and implants.  One of the best parts of his job is knowing that the products he helps to make end up directly helping other people in their time of need.

 

Marcus has always enjoyed spending time outdoors, and enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, and exploring God’s beautiful creation.  Having grown up in a family that enjoyed hunting, Marcus was encouraged to try hunting as well, despite the extra challenges that disabled people face outdoors.  He has been blessed to harvest several deer in his lifetime, including whitetail deer from three different states (Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin).

 

Marcus married his beautiful wife Lindsey in September 2013, and they currently reside in Hicksville.  Marcus and Lindsey volunteer with Hunters Helping Hunters, a local non-profit that provides hunting and fishing opportunities to physically challenged or seriously ill adults and children.  Marcus began as a hunter with Hunters Helping Hunters, and after a few hunts decided to see how he could help serve the organization.  Along with his father, Marcus designed wheelchair accessible elevated hunting blinds for Hunters Helping Hunters to improve the opportunity and comfort for their hunters.  Hunters Helping Hunters has constructed more than 10 of these types of blinds used by their hunters each year.  Marcus now serves on the Board of Directors of Hunters Helping Hunters.

 

Marcus is also active in the church he attends and has served on the leadership team for three years.  His faith in God has been most important in maintaining a positive attitude despite the daily struggles of life confined to a wheelchair and encouraging others as they face obstacles in their lives.

 

SCI Foundation thanks its long-time, dedicated donors who support the Pathfinder Award making this once-in-a-lifetime South African hunt possible:

 

Learn about our past recipients

Past Award Recipients

Pathfinder Auction Hunt Award

SCI Foundation Announces 2018 Pathfinder Award Winner

Friday evening, January 11, 2019 one remarkable hunter, Cory McGregor will be awarded the SCI Foundation Pathfinder Award.  A Pathfinder is “one that finds a way or finds a new route”.  SCI Foundation Pathfinders are people who are faced with challenges in life that causes them to find new ways to live and to overcome the challenge of being engaged in outdoor activities. These hunters also give of their time to help their community and promote hunting for other disabled hunters.

 

This year’s Pathfinder Award winner Corey McGregor was an active hunter when in May of 2001 he was injured in a single vehicle rollover on a backcountry road near his parent’s home in Clark, Wyoming.  He was ejected from the truck resulting in fractured vertebrae at C5, C6, L4, and T0 and T10, where his spinal cord was also severed.  He completed his rehabilitation in July of 2001, and that fall was back to hunting.

Corey helped co-found Wyoming Disabled Hunters (WDH) in 2008 helping disabled hunters to enjoy an affordable hunt and organizes opportunities for disabled hunters to reaffirm their ability to provide for their family while building friendships with other motivated people.  Corey continues to lead in the role of president with the support of ten board members.

 

Countless disabled hunters have benefited from Corey’s organizational and hunt coordinator efforts.  Over and over, hunters talk about Corey’s endless energy and abilities that overcome his paralysis as an inspiration.  Corey is in constant motion with one project or another.  Many of these projects, such as cutting and splitting wood, running heavy equipment, and farming for his in-laws, are not typical projects for a paralyzed person.

 

Corey serves as an advocate to the public for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  He helps to educate contractors, business owners, and city councils regarding the requirements of the ADA and the needs of disabled customers.  Corey is also involved in supporting the National AgrAbility Project which assists farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers living with a disability.

 

Corey’s own independence spills over to help him teach other disabled friends and consumers that disability is no barrier at all, if you are willing to climb!

 

The SCI Foundation Pathfinder program also provides funding to SCI Chapters in support of their activities that engage disabled, terminally ill, wounded military and veterans in outdoor activities. Often, the reintroduction to nature and hunting helps these hunters find their way to adapt to their life changes and challenges.

Pathfinder Youth Hunt

By Kathy Butler, SCIF Education Department

 

This year’s Youth Pathfinder hunt was awarded to sixteen-year old, native New Yorker, Nathan “Nate” Wagner.  Born in November 2003, Nate grew up the youngest of three boys and was active in sports playing basketball and lacrosse.  He developed an interest in hunting with friends who hunt that later turned into a passion he and his father, Rich, now share.  Nate harvested his first whitetail deer this past season and he regularly hunts pheasant and upland game with his father and friends.  Two years ago, his life changed when he was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Neuroblastoma, which affects approximately 800 children annually and is rare for kids over 10 years old, but Nate does not let his illness stand in the way of his connection with nature and love of hunting.

 

Nate was over-the-top excited when he learned that he had been chosen for this once in a life time New Mexico elk hunt and counted the hours until it was time to finally go.  New Mexico offers some of the best fair chase elk hunts in North America and the special youth elk tag awarded by New Mexico State Game Commission makes it possible for this hunt to be taken anytime during the season, anywhere in New Mexico.  Nates hunt was scheduled at the end of September 2019 and took place in the Datil Mountain range of Cibola National Forest, which is home to diverse animal species and know for its great elk herds.

 

Hailing from Magdalena, Eric Kern, volunteered to guide Nate on this special hunt.  With twenty years of experience guiding hunts in New Mexico, Eric knew right where to take Nate to call and stalk elk.  The first day proved to be challenging climbing hills while trying not to make noise on the loosely bedded rock found in the area.

 

Not having much luck that morning, they headed out in the afternoon following a tip from another scout in the area where elk had been seen.

 

Patience is a hunter’s virtue and it proved to be true after Nate waited several hours before elk were finally heard bugling in the distance.  As the sun started to creep toward the skyline, they headed down to a position where the elk were expected to pass on their way to feed in the flat grasslands.  Eric called a couple of times and they could hear a bull running toward them.  Exhilarated by the sound, Nate situated himself into position, but couldn’t get in the right position, so he didn’t take the shot.  A good day of hunting ended with dinner and stories at Eric’s home joined by his wife, Kelly, and their five children.

 

Charged up from a good night’s sleep, they headed out to a different area the next morning and tracked elk through a wooded ravine.  The elk were bugling as they made their way up the mountain and Nate positioned himself for what he thought was a sure shot, but some cows came by instead and “ratted him out” to the bull he was stocking.  It was close, but the bull eluded him.

 

Not giving up, they headed to another area where Nate was able to see a bull at 260 yards and had a perfect shot.  He aimed the custom, 280 Ackley, named by Eric as “Bad to the Bone,” with precision and took the shot.  The shot was true and a fine bull was taken by Nate.  The elk was a beauty, measuring roughly 340-points and weighed around 800-pounds.  Nate beamed with continued excitement as he engaged in field dressing and into the evening as he relived the details of his amazing experience.

 

Nate thanks New Mexico Game and Fish for the elk tag and Eric Kern and his family for hosting he and his dad on the hunt.  And he gives a special thanks to SCI Foundation and the Pathfinder Committee for making this hunt-of-a-lifetime possible.  Nate hopes these hunting opportunities will continue as it was such a remarkable experience and he hopes other youth get to do this, too.

Learn about past Pathfinder Youth Hunt recipients

Past Recipients

Application

A Pathfinder is “one that finds a way or finds a new route.”

 

SCI Foundation Pathfinders are people who are faced with challenges in life that causes them to find new ways to live and to overcome the challenge of being engaged in outdoor activities. These hunters also give of their time to help their community and promote hunting for other disabled hunters.

 

The SCI Foundation Pathfinder program provides funding to SCI Chapters in support of their activities that engage disabled, terminally ill, wounded military and veterans who are hunters into the outdoors. Often, the reintroduction to nature and hunting helps these hunters to find their way to adapt to their life changes and challenges and helping others along the way.

 

Pathfinder Award Announcement

 

Pathfinder Award Application

 

For more information, contact Kathy Butler at kbutler@safariclub.org, or call direct (520) 798-4892.