For these men just getting to the 4M Whitetails Ranch in Paluxy, Tx. was not an easy task. The hunt was provided by Combat Marine Outdoors an organization who works with severely wounded Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Navy Corpsmen. Their mission is to give these brave men a chance to incorporate in their rehabilitation program a hunting and fishing experience of a life time. The Marines selected for this hunt were nominated by their superior officer and had met all of the qualifying criteria. Each of these Marines have gone through a tremendous amount of healing both physically and mentally from wounds sustained while fighting for the United States of America.
It was a pleasure and honor to be in the presence of these great Americans for such a wonderful cause. It was clearly apparent that everyone who volunteered their time left feeling even more patriotic, and touched by what these brave young men have done to preserve our freedoms.
It started with introductions, a prayer of thanksgiving, and a hot lunch prepared at camp headquarters.
On hand were some highly respected dignitaries that served as volunteers. Joining in to make the event even more special were Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. General Joe Weber, and Former Congressmen Duncan Hunter.
After lunch it was then time to head for the target range to site in each hunter’s rifle. Governor Perry immediately grabbed his camera and began taking pictures looking like a citizen journalist or the media for the trip.
He captured some great shots of these Marines handling their rifles and having fun. It became apparent from the very beginning that this trip was not about him being in the limelight, but about seeing that these Marines having an experience of a lifetime.
The 4M Whitetails Ranch would prove to be a hunt of a lifetime for these Marines. There were plenty of nice quality deer to be harvested and the fishing for this time of year was incredible.
As the first evening hunt came to an end with one of the Marines getting his first buck we all shared in the excitement. As one of the pictures suggests, Governor Perry and the ranch dog Jethro were howling with their approval.
After dinner the group assembled in the main house of the ranch around the fire place for a brief ceremony. Lt. General Joe Weber was presented a Combat Marine Flag in honor of the work he has done for the Combat Marine Outdoors organization along with being an example of an American Hero to these young men.
The Mooring Family was also presented a Marine Combat Flag for their generous Texas hospitality and the genuine affection they have shown these American Heroes over the last several years.
After the ceremony and more fellowship most everyone retired early after a long day. The next day was filled with bright sunshine but cool and windy conditions. As everyone had hoped another Marine got his buck in the early hours of the morning.
As lunch was served outside the pavilion overlooking the rolling hills of North Texas no one was looking to take a nap. This provided another opportunity to take in some shooting practice. Volunteers set up long range targets for the guests to show off their marksmanship. Everyone really enjoyed the competition and negotiating the wind drop calculation required in the windy conditions. Governor Perry had his computer on hand so he could show the guys the great photos he got.
That evening it was time for a nice sit down steak dinner prepared on an open pit by several of the volunteers. After dinner and dessert another ceremony was set to take place outside the main house. Everyone gathered around the giant fire pit to star gaze, and take in the experience of a massive fire to keep everyone warm and cozy. The setting was incredible!!!
Little did we know what was about to ensue during this fireside ceremony. As each of these American heroes stood before us they began to tell us their incredible personal stories. They talked about their military experience and what happened to them in the line of duty.
They were grateful, respectful, and gave thanks to all the volunteers which in itself was incredible. They were very appreciative of the opportunity to have 3 days with people that cared and supported them through it all.
They thanked their special guests and the Mooring Family. Governor Rick Perry and Scott Mooring accepted American Flags that had flown over the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and then over these Marines barracks at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
As a sign of admiration and respect when Governor Perry accepted his American Flag he stated, “You got to walk through the fire when you get one of these, Sir. I will walk through the fire for these boys every day.”
The 3 day hunt came to an end but the stories and memories will last a lifetime; as will the friendships that were formed.
At Resolute Media we will be following the Combat Marine Outdoors organization and the once in a lifetime hunts they will have in the future. If you want to be a part of making a trip like this possible for another brave severely wounded Marine, Soldier, Airmen, Sailor or Navy Corpsmen go to the Combat Marine Outdoors website and make a donation. Pictured below is the kind of equipment that your donation will go to. Check out Chris in his all terrain wheel chair that allows him to track his game. Pretty cool.
Please pass this story on so others can do the same, this is truly an organization worth supporting.
Also take the time to visit the 4M Whitetails website; see the depth of their pedigrees and learn the rest of their story…