Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter Photographer 

Hunting with Heroes

 

October 4, 2018

Cindy Glasson

Iraq Army veteran Austin Wilmarth from Colorado Springs, Colo. poses proudly with the skull of the antelope he shot during the Hunting with Heroes event last weekend. Eleven veterans participated and every one of them went home with their tag filled.

Thermopolis was fortunate this past weekend to host the Hunting with Heroes Wyoming, an organization dedicated to giving back to our disabled veterans.

The group works with state agencies, local landowners and many, many volunteers to provide hunting opportunities to our veterans from across the country who are at least 50 percent disabled.

They partner with the Wyoming Game and Fish to receive donated game licenses and Hunting with Heroes matches a veteran up with a license, guide, rifles and other gear as well as game processing and room and board for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Last weekend, there were 11 veterans in town for their shot at an antelope, and every one of the men bagged their animal.

A special dinner was served on Saturday night that included not only the veterans, but the volunteers who were involved and the landowners in areas 83 and 76 who opened their property to the hunters.

Before dinner began, Dan Currah, one of the founders of the organization, spoke about how this program has helped these veterans get a small part of their lives back, providing healing and camraderie amongst brothers in arms.

Currah shared the story of one of the hunters and his partner who were scheduled to come for the hunt.

Unfortunately, just a few weeks before the two close friends were set to come to Thermopolis, one of the men committed suicide. An average of 22 veterans per day commit suicide in the United States.

It took a bit of work, but another veteran was found to partner with the devastated hunter and he was able to make the trip without his best friend.

Along with Currah, several other hunters commented on the healing effects this program has had on them. Heartfelt thanks were given to Currah and his team as well as all the volunteers and the guides who made sure they found their antelope.

One of the hunters said, "This is a whole lot more than a hunt, its the hunt of a lifetime with friends and family."

The hunters came from across the U.S., some as close as Special Forces Staff Sgt. Matt Bessler from Powell, Iraq Army veteran Austin Wilmarth from Colorado Springs, and as far away as Mark Worley, an Army veteran from Iraq and Afghanistan from Washington State who bagged a very large goat.

 

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