Thank you. Those two words hold much meaning, yet words can’t fully convey the depth of gratitude this country owes its military service members. Memorial Day honors the military men and women who died while serving their country. This important remembrance day also reminds Americans about the ongoing sacrifices of current military members, veterans and their families.
Memorial Day is a powerful thank-you to fallen heroes, but it’s also an important day in which several organizations express thanks by taking military members out of their camouflage uniforms and sending them back out in hunting camo.
Hunting opportunities can be tough to find for military members, because most of them move often. Many spend months, sometimes years, serving in foreign countries, which can make hunting opportunities rare. That’s yet another sacrifice for military members. After all, bowhunting means more than releasing an arrow. Bowhunting can be therapeutic, challenging and relaxing. It also puts healthy meat on the table help bowhunters disconnect from the world’s may stresses.
That’s why several organizations are dedicated to helping veterans and active-duty military members get outdoors when they’re home between deployments.
Freedom Hunters, for example, is an outreach program dedicated to “honoring those who protect our freedoms by providing outdoor adventures to military men and women home from deployments or wounded in combat.” The organization also recognizes that military service affects a vast network of service members.
Freedom Hunters has taken over 8,200 people on adventures. “It is with immense pride and enthusiasm that Freedom Hunters carries on the American tradition of hunting, fishing and shooting,” its website states.
The Wounded Warrior Project is one of the nation’s most recognized organizations for helping service members and their families. WWP was created after 9/11 to help wounded military members transition back into their new, normal life. WWP has helped thousands of wounded service members and their families.
The nonprofit group helps in many ways, including counseling services, spousal retreats and outdoor adventures. These activities, like guided hunts, are provided free. And it’s not just passionate hunters who participate. WWP has introduced many wounded vets to hunting by including them on hunting trips.
Anyone who spends time at hunting camps knows that healing can come from the camp’s experiences and camaraderie. The camp promises to “create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.”
Wounded Heroes Hunting Camp believes hunting and fishing adventures provide challenging and empowering opportunities. The organization focuses on creating a hunting camp’s feel for storytelling and forging lifelong friendships. It’s a special time for these groups of wounded vets to share the experience.
Honored American Veterans Afield also helps wounded veterans return to everyday life through outdoor adventures. An important element is HAVA’s “Learn to Shoot Again” program, which helps veterans with debilitating injuries overcome their injuries and regain some of their shooting abilities.
Military families carry the weight of service members’ sacrifices. The Sportsmen’s Foundation for Military Families gives eligible veterans’ families a chance to enjoy a guided adventure. For the veteran family, an SFMF experience is often the trip of a lifetime, and it’s extremely therapeutic for those needing a helping hand in recovery.
By working with sponsors, guides and volunteers, these organizations and others like them give military men and women, veterans and their families life-changing memories in the woods.