Dubbed the 1st Annual HAVA/USYF Field Day and conducted near Freeport, IL; the event was a day of trap, birds, dogs, and good camaraderie for 15 veterans and 15 youngsters from all walks of life. They spent a day together one-on-one hunting and talking about the sacrifices required for freedom. Most of these kids knew little of military service and these veterans put a human face on what defending freedom really means. More than 20 volunteers helped with bird cleaning, cooking and setup; and kids and veterans alike learned life lessons that the outdoors can teach.
“The joining of these young people and veterans in an outdoor setting has been a dream for HAVA, and partnering with USYF in sponsoring this event was the perfect way to make it a reality” said Tom Taylor, HAVA Chairman. This pilot project showed that the interface is positive for both groups and we intend to go forward with the concept for 2013 and beyond.
“HAVA came to us sometime back with the idea of putting veterans and kids together in an outdoor event and it all worked much better than even we had anticipated,” said Brendan Walsh, USYF Director. “The veterans had life’s lessons to share and the kid’s faces told the whole story of how one generation can help the next. Each veteran was very appreciative that these youngsters honored their service in defense of freedom.”
For more information on HAVA and USYF, please visit www.honoredveterans.org and www.usyf.com
HAVA is a 501(c)3 organization formed by companies in the shooting and outdoor industry with the purpose of raising awareness and further assisting disabled veterans with their healing process through guided hunts, shooting events and other outdoor sports activities. The sustaining sponsor companies are Smith & Wesson, NSSF, Mossberg, Yamaha Outdoors, Crimson Trace, Leupold & Stevens, Surefire, Hornady, Ruger, XS Sights, Barrett, Glock and FMG Publications among numerous contributing companies. Those who would like to learn more about the HAVA organization can do so at www.honoredveterans.org.
The United Sportsman’s Youth Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to securing and managing habitat, and to teaching kids about outdoor sports. Their mission is to unite sportsmen, agriculture and communities, and to offer youth an opportunity to participate in and enjoy outdoor activities. Learn more at www.usyf.com