Wounded servicemen hunt Calhoun's plantations - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Wounded servicemen hunt Calhoun's plantations

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

CALHOUN COUNTY, GA (WALB) - The sound of gunfire is very familiar to the men on the plantation. "Man, it was amazing," said Lt. Richard Ingram. "Just the thrill when the birds are flying and you have to have a quick reaction time."

But Saturday it was the sound of distress from the gunfire that is aimed at the them on the battle fields of Iraq and Afghanistan. "I went overseas and lost my arm in an I.E. D. explosion," said Ingram.

"I got wounded by grenade shrapnel initially,"said Mike Edwards of the 75th Ranger Regimen out of Columbus.

"I was suffering from brain, memory, speech and balance problems," said wounded Marine, Steve Martinez.

The second annual Purple Heart Quail Hunt is held in their honor by someone who once stood beside them overseas. "I was in Iraq and was in the thick of it like a lot of these guys," said Lt. Col. Dan Hammock. "But fortunately I came back unharmed."

"But I lost a lot of friends and saw a lot of other people hurt. And I wanted to do something." And now Lt. Col. Hammock opens up his land, offers his dogs and a few birds for weekend of hunting.

"It gives a lot of these guys something to come home to. I've seen a lot of guys come back from Walter Reed and they have nothing to come back too. And this event, that is already set up for you, shows you there is still so much you can do," said Lt. Ingram.

Col. Hammock says this is his way to say thanks. "I want to recognize those who don't make it out of the battlefields." For their work has taken away so much from them but allows all of us to continue to have the countless freedoms that we take for granted.

A little over a dozen wounded servicemen participated in last year's hunt. This year that number more than tripled. And Hammock hopes to make this an annual event in Edison.