CAMP PATRIOT DISABLED HUNTERS ADVENTURE.
WOUNDED WARRIORS HUNT---MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
By Michael Price
Thanks to NW Chapter member Jake Myers, who speared headed the program, and the board of directors of NW Chapter of SCI who unanimously voted to be a participant in an opportunity to give something back to those veterans who have served our country and were wounded in that ongoing fight for freedom. The cliché “Freedom Is Not Free’ is still very true and the veterans we were with, exemplified that.
Two wounded warriors, Elliot Miller and Ben McDonald, were chosen for the hunt with assistance of an organization named Camp Patriot out of Libby, Montana, run by Mica Clark.
Elliot Miller had previously been in the Marines and been honorably discharged, then re-upped right after 9/11 and became a Navy Seal in team 5. He lost his right leg above the knee, incurred numerous other injuries and suffered severe brain damage in an Iraq roadside bomb explosion. Elliot currently lives in the L.A. area and was accompanied on the trip by Mark Semos, a loyal fellow Navy Seal team member.
Ben McDonald was in the Illinois National Guard and had already served a tour in Iraq and was then sent back to Afghanistan were he lost his entire hand while removing a Russian era grenade from the roadside. Ben currently lives in a house near Tower Hill, Illinois, near his parents ranch/farm.
Both Elliot and Ben flew into Idaho Falls on 9/15 (A date close to the infamous 9/11 date) and upon arrival were filmed and interviewed by both the local TV stations, who then each ran a very nice bit on that evenings news casts.
Ben and Elliot were then transported to Elk Safaris West, near Rexburg, Idaho, operated by Roy and Danielle Klingler, where they were housed in great accommodations. The next morning, after their rifle sight in shoot, were then taken out to hunt Elk in a 2 seat ATV loaned by Honda of Olympia and a 4 seat ATV from the ranch.
We were joined by a 2 man film crew from Outdoorsman.com, who plan to show the footage on the outdoor channel at least twice this year and probably two times again next year. We will try to find out the dates and times. The 2 man team from Camp Patriot was also filming and the rest of us had cameras in use often.
Elliot, who had to hunt out of the ATV due to the loss of his leg, had a hard time with the coordination of aiming and shooting quickly due to his injuries, but was finally able to harvest a big 6 X 7 much to everyone’s delight.
Ben, who had lost an arm, had a special prosthesis which enabled him to hold his rifle and after a long foot stalk was able to down a very nice 6 X 6, again much to everyone’s delight.
There were real big smiles all around, but to see the smiles on the faces of those two wounded warriors is beyond my ability to completely describe the emotions the rest of us felt. At least we tried to pay them back in a small way for what they have done and the loss they incurred doing it.
The Camp Patriot organization paid the airfare etc to transport the wounded Warriors and brought their large handicap capable van, helped with the hunt, and did considerable filming.
All the food for everyone, transportation of it and the ATV, the Elk processing and several other major financial arrangements were donated by Jake Myers. And I “fed” Jakes always hungry truck most of the food it needed, commonly known as Diesel.
Elk Safaris West generously donated the lodging, guides, cooks, and originally a Cow Elk for each hunter.
The NW Chapter of SCI then paid to upgrade from the two Cow Elk to two Bull Elk and then with Jake Myers assistance, Elk Safaris West then donated an upgrade to two BIG Bull Elk.
The Buck Knife Co sent shirts and knives for both the vets, and NW Chapter gave them both NW shirts.
The TV stations also ran touching follow up stories on their evening news with pictures of the vets and their bulls. We anticipate obtaining footage of the films taken by the outdoorsman and expect to be able to show it at the Banquet and other events. This was one of the best hunts I have ever been on, and I wasn’t even hunting.
It is hoped that we will be able to have a wounded warrior event of some kind annually.
To see a slide show of all of the photos,