An Oklahoma nonprofit is using the outdoors to give back to some of our American heroes who have sacrificed so much fighting to protect our freedoms.
Oklahoma Wounded Veterans held their sixth annual dove hunt last Friday near Billings, in north-central Oklahoma.
The first morning hunt began on a freshly cut cornfield with autumnal temperatures and beautiful skies.
“Beautiful red sunrise, light winds, very serene, tranquil,” said Marine Corps veteran Doug Meier. “It’s a lot of fun. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
It’s a long weekend that veterans count on every September.
“It’s always a good time to hang out with veterans. We all come from the same cloth,” said Army veteran Luke Hundley. “Good minds, good people [who] knowing how to work hard, play hard.
This year’s Dove Hunt was one of WVO’s biggest events to date with approximately 75 veterans coming from across the state and across generations.
“They know exactly where the range is. They have rangefinders built into their wings,” joked Joe Allen, who is a retired Tulsa fire investigator and Marine Corps veteran.
“I had the great pleasure of going down and visiting Fidel Castro when they had the embargo there, which means many years ago,” Allen said.
Allen just turned 79, but age is not a factor with this crew.
“Everyone here has something in common, some of us have two or three things in common,” Allen said.
There’s a special bond they all share and an understanding, WVO manager JD Dennis said, that not all injuries are visible.
“We see addiction, relationship issues, divorce, a lot of that. We try to offer them counseling, treatment for PTSD, whatever they need,” Dennis said.
The veterans spent three days hunting, healing, growing, and spending quality time together in the outdoors.
“I don’t care if I kill a bird or not, just being here with guys who’ve been through the same kind of things that I’ve been through…you don’t get that in everyday life,” he said. said Army veteran Rusty Williams. .
It’s an awareness for some of our bravest heroes in Oklahoma that goes far beyond the fields of doves.
“They can call us 24/7. We won’t leave you behind. No man left behind and we’ll still have your six,” Dennis said.
After the hunts, all the dove meat was used to make a feast for the veterans.
Wounded Veterans of Oklahoma also hosts waterfowl and deer hunts, everything is free except for lodging.