Wounded soldiers participate in Purple Heart Quail Hunt
February 16, 2008
Edison -- They come from all over the country - Maine, New York, Maryland, and Louisiana. They are the faces of the armed forces; each of them wounded in action.
"What we do, we don't do it for the money. We don't do it for the fame. We do it for our brothers, our sisters, our family," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Chavaree.
Far away from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, where Chavaree has served, is 1500 hundred acres of tranquil land called Southern Wilderness in Edison Georgia. It's here where a dozen wounded soldiers of recent conflict were invited to take part in the first annual Wounded Warriors Purple Heart Quail Hunt.
"As soon as I got the phone call I was ecstatic. It was a good chance to go out there and hang out with the boys," Chavaree said.
Lt. Colonel Dan Hammack is the president of Southern Wilderness Incorporated.
He says, "It breaks the monotony of having to go through recovery. It also gets them out into an environment that's more relaxing and more enjoyable. And they feel more appreciated by the community they're serving."
In a time when PTSD is just as lethal as RPGs, more soldiers than ever have taken their own lives - succumbed to the unforgettable reality of war - fighting their own battles on the home front.
"They could have seen their best friend killed. They could have seen somebody else injured or they could've just had some bad experience over seas and they can't stop thinking about it," said U.S. Marine Cpl. Michael Savoie.
Thanks to the wounded Warrior Project and generous sponsors, Purple Heart soldiers like Savoie, who is originally from New Orleans, have the opportunity to gain friendships and share stories with those that understand them best, a fellow soldier. To Savoie, it's more than a hunt, it's therapy for the soul.
"When you're in the outdoors, all that goes away. You're not thinking about war, you're not thinking about all the negative things. All of that goes away. It's just you and the woods, you and nature.".
And while their wounds may be forever, so will be a lasting appreciation. A weekend hunt bringing hope and normalcy back to those we call our wounded warriors.
If you would like to learn more on how you or your business can sponsor the Purple Heart Quail Hunt, you can call Southern Wilderness, Inc. at 229-835-2362.
For more information on the Wounded Warrior Project, click on the link below.