By Libby Gear
As a young child, I thought Africa would simply be a place to go to hunt; however, thirteen years later, I have totally fallen in love with more than hunting. I have fallen in love with her people, the animals, the land, the culture, the music, and much, much more. Being blessed over the years with multiple trips to Africa, I have enjoyed Africa’s warm hospitality but I have also witnessed many of her needs, and I wanted to help.
I wanted to change lives for the people who had changed mine. A couple years ago, John Banovich and his foundation provided an amazing opportunity that gave me the chance to bring about change for some wonderful young people! He provided me with the opportunity to raise money for the Wheelchair Foundation. As an athlete, I had taken the gift of walking for granted. As we worked to raise money to buy wheelchairs for needy natives in Africa, it became apparent to me just how important it is for us as hunters to give back to these amazing people and their families and I began working to help raise money to help.
Each day as the funds grew, we were getting closer and closer to our goal. I reached out to people at my school, my club sports team, my hunting community, and my church and spread the word about the need for wheelchairs. This was a remarkable project in which everyone was getting involved as we were introducing our friends and family to a different side of Africa! It was amazing to watch as this project spread and impacted people from all around the world (I was able to send a check to the Wheelchair Foundation in the amount of $5,366).
It was finally time to deliver the wheelchairs, and although I could not go physically, I was getting pictures regularly from John Banovich of the people who were being blessed with this gift of mobility. For these people who could not afford a wheelchair, it wasn’t just about being able to move about, it was about now having a way to get to work or school, being able to travel for water or food, and being able to have better access to medical care. These wheelchairs would forever change their lives! As hunters, we cannot settle for the status quo by simply allowing a place to change us: we must give back and do our part to change the lives of the people and things that have so enriched and changed us!