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DICK ELLIS Click here for full PDF Version from the March/April Issue. Seeking Wolf PhotosOWO’s informal census continuesOn Wisconsin Outdoors’ informal wolf census continues. Please send your trail cam photos of wolves in Wisconsin to: wolves@onwisconsinoutdoors.com. List the county where the photos were taken, the date, and verify the number of wolves visible in each photo. Your name will not be published. OWO publishers do not b...
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Notes from the Field: Winter 2021

 

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Winter 2021

A gorgeous view from the 8th Annual DoubleCreek Lodge TN Rifle Deer Hunt in Hohenwald, Tennessee.
Photo courtesy of WWIA Guide Matt Phillips.

 

Notes From the Field: Winter 2021

What a way to close out the year! WWIA proudly hosted seven spectacular events for our Heroes in November and December that included hunting for deer, hogs, and waterfowl, as well as fishing and trapping. Although we continued to face obstacles related to COVID-19, where and when possible, we continued to safely conduct events for our Heroes to help break the cycle of isolation that the pandemic has caused for so many. We enter the new year with plenty of exciting events on the horizon, including a new WWIA Podcast coming soon, so stay tuned. We remain grateful and humbled by your support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes and wish all of you the best throughout 2022! ðŸ’œ

 

Founder's Feature: 2021 Summary

With 2021 officially in the books, we are thankful for another stellar year of getting our Heroes into the outdoors and back in action, as we connect them with their fellow Purple Heart recipients and with communities who honor their service and sacrifice. As we proudly enter our fifteenth year, I remain humbled and grateful for the distinguished Heroes I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving through the Foundation, as well as the remarkable individuals, businesses, and communities who rally around our mission and have helped shape WWIA into what it is today. 

This past year we served 181 Purple Heart Heroes over 39 events across 19 states. Many of you generously and consistently gave of your time, money, talents, and resources, enlisting the support of friends, family, and community partners to help advance the mission of WWIA. Your support and hard work pay dividends far beyond what can be seen in the highlights, testimonials, and pictures from our events. You are helping to heal invisible wounds and bringing restoration, hope, and a true sense of wholeness to our Heroes and their families.

As we move into 2022, we look forward to another exciting year full of world-class events for our combat-wounded veterans. Together, we continue the high calling of serving our Heroes through the power of the great outdoors. I want to personally thank all our Heroes, Guides, Associates, Pro-Staff, dedicated supporters, volunteers, and donors for your faithful partnership throughout 2021 and over the past fourteen years. We are blessed to be surrounded and associated with so many patriotic and selfless friends. May this new year bring you and those you love, blessings, abundance, good health, and happiness. 

 

         -Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) John J. McDaniel

 
 
 

Events and Fundraisers

 
 

   9th Annual Murphy Family & Friends Gulf Coast Hog Hunt

    November 4-8  Bay St. Louis, MS

The 9th Annual Murphy Family and Friends Gulf Coast Hog Hunt welcomed four of our combat-wounded Warriors to enjoy five days of relaxation, camaraderie, and world-class hog hunting in the seaside city of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The hunting throughout their stay was top-notch thanks to the assistance of skilled local guides, who set them up in ideal locations for optimal hog activity. Their time in the field was met with great success as a total of six impressive hogs were harvested by our Heroes. Thanks to Ronnie and Monica Amacker, they were also able to hunt with dogs one day, and everyone expressed how much they enjoyed that opportunity. When they weren't in the field, they also raved about the variety of food, including authentic Cajun meals expertly prepared by Host Audie and Joanie Murphy and family, his amazing cadre of volunteers, and the amazing Dan B's Restaurant and Bar. The camaraderie between our Heroes was exceptional, with lots of shared experiences and laughs had during the hunts and around the dinner table. Our Heroes headed home refreshed, with great memories, new friendships, and coolers full of hog sausage. Our sincere gratitude to Host Audie "Rock" Murphy and his family and friends for their continued dedication in putting together another first-class event from start to finish. Special thanks to Co-Host Terry Taylor for his tremendous event support and fundraising efforts year after year. Recognition and thanks to local guides, Karl Bulot, Lee Robinson, and to Josh Gipson and family for their skillful hunting preparation and assistance. Appreciation to Colton Ryals, Larue Maree, and C.J. Saucier for their contributions with the dog hunt, and to Karl Ederer for granting access and use of his hunting property. Additional thanks to Scarlett Pearl Casino, Dale Barefield (True Value Hardware) for providing bait for the hogs, to Eric and Marcy Dalsin for additional lodging, Dave and Rita Cavanaugh, Mac Cowand, Roy McKenzie, Robert and Kim Beardslee, Debbie Garrett, James Lindsay, Nicolette Rogers, Danelle Ramsel, Norman and Beverly Grogg, and for event support. High praise and appreciation to WWIA Guide Derek Duplisea for his expertise and contributions throughout this exciting trip.....

"Being on this event with other veterans is most rewarding. The thrill of the hunt and the talks that happen out in the field are very much therapeutic. Rock and his family were so inviting. They treated all of us like family. One of the best hunts that I have been on. I will have to come back down to visit."

 

 8th Annual Kuneytown FLX Ducks 'N Bucks Hunt

  November 10-14  Seneca Falls, NY

Four of our combat-wounded Warriors traveled to the Finger Lakes region of New York to take part in the 8th Annual Kuneytown FLX Ducks and Bucks Hunt in picturesque Seneca Falls. Once settled in, they enjoyed weapons training, target shooting classes, and a safety briefing to ensure they were properly prepared for their upcoming time in the field. Through a collaboration with Whitetails Unlimited and the Ducks Unlimited Seneca Falls Chapter, our Heroes were outfitted with blind bags and gear and were also gifted a 1-year membership to each organization. They were also presented with an amazing set of boots from Josh Lincoln of Dryshod Footwear, t-shirts and hats from ProCarpet, and game calls from Quakerboy Game Calls. Our Heroes were treated to two different waterfowl hunts, the first on Cayuga Lake with Frontenac Fowlers Guide Service and another one led by Steve Sandroni. They had a memorable time and harvested some beautiful ducks in addition to a Canada goose. Thanks to Deer Haven Park owner Earl Martin, they also had the privilege of hunting deer at the historic Seneca Army Depot, a former munitions storage facility consisting of over 4,000 acres. This protected government land has allowed the local deer population to flourish for more than 60 years, including being home to the largest herd in the world of the rare and protected white deer. Our Heroes had an exceptional time in the field with three of them harvesting impressive bucks with racks of 8, 9, and 10 points. 

As a complement to the outstanding hunting opportunities, our Heroes also learned first-hand the finer points of processing and preparing their harvests courtesy of Moira Tidball and her Wild Harvest Table program. They enjoyed a variety of culinary dishes including delicious duck legs roulade, goose breast appetizers, and venison steaks. They were also graciously provided with custom books to take home full of recipes and instructional guides to assist in preparing their future harvests and catches (also available online here). An amazing community attended dinner was held at the Arthur G. Depew Memorial Ovid VFW Post #6200, the patriots from the VFW provided a wonderful prime rib dinner in honor of our Heroes. The annual banquet fundraising dinner held at the Kuneytown Sportsmens Club on the last evening of the event was a wonderful time to fellowship, connect, share stories and laughs, and relax amongst new friends over a great meal. They were also honored to have Senator Pam Helming, New York State Senate representative for the 54th District in attendance, who also graciously presented each Hero with a citation from the New York State Senate in honor of their service and sacrifice. It was a great ending to another spectacular event in Seneca Falls. The camaraderie, connections, and bonds made at this amazing event will undoubtedly follow our Heroes for years to come.  

We would like to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to Dr. Keith and Moira Tidball and the Kuneytown Sportsmens Club for graciously hosting and honoring our Heroes. This event would not have been possible without the outstanding patriotism, care, and dedication of so many wonderful people in this community and beyond. Thank you to Anthony Imperato of Henry Repeating Rifle and David Baron of Baron Engraving for their generosity in donating a custom-engraved Henry Golden Boy .22 military tribute rifle for the banquet fundraiser. Additional thanks to S&S Sales  and to Bob Weller for also donating guns for this year's auction. Our sincere appreciation to Stamberger-Sender Associates and Seneca Meadows for once again sponsoring this year's hunt. Special recognition to Canoga Creek Outfitters, Frontenac Fowlers, Steve Sandroni, and Scott Ridley for providing first-class guide services, and to Tammy Ridley for leading the decoration committee. Additional recognition and gratitude to Steve and Jeanie Blaisdell for generously donating the use of their lake house, to CCE Military Families and VeteransSeneca County Cornell Cooperative ExtensionCornell Cooperative Extension in the Department of Natural ResourcesWoods & Water Prescription - for Wounded WarriorsKirk Casey American Legion Post 366VFW Post 6200, Mike Ernst for his contributions and support throughout the years and for his assistance during the event, to Bob Stuck, Dan DeLawyer, Eric Riegel of Riegel Marine ServicesBonadent Dental Laboratories, Bob Lapp, and Dale Rolley for their outstanding dedication and efforts. Additional appreciation and thanks to WWIA Guide Gabe Fierros for his skill and acumen during this outstanding event. 

"From the time I was contacted about this event, it was nothing but perfect. Meeting all the staff and other hunters has been one of the best times I’ve had in a long while. Over the years, I have begun to think that people have forgotten about the men and women that protect our great country. Not only the staff of WWIA but the other people I’ve gotten to know this week have made me realize they have not forgotten. I am very proud to be a part of this event. Knowing that people care and want to support our men and women is awesome. Thank you is not enough words. The morning after the dinner, I was very humbled and moved by the generosity of everyone at the dinner.  Speaking with everyone has given me a new outlook on our great country. We have hope as a nation. This is a great town with outstanding people. I am proud to be a part of it and call you all friends."

 
 

   8th Annual Western PA Archery Deer Hunt

    November 11-14  Rural Valley, PA

The 8th Annual Western Pennsylvania Archery Deer Hunt proudly hosted five of our Heroes in Rural Valley, PA. Upon arrival, everyone grabbed a bite to eat and took time to set up and familiarize themselves with their bows and crossbows on the 3-D archery range as well as being greeted by their local hunting guides. It was decided to try and get in a quick evening hunt. There were lots of deer seen and a beautiful doe was harvested. It was a great start to the trip for our combat-wounded Warriors. A delicious dinner consisting of steak, assorted sides, and salad was enjoyed as everyone spent time talking and getting to know one another. They were also presented with amazing homemade blankets courtesy of Susan Bevevino to use and take home as a memento of their trip. 
The next morning, our Heroes enjoyed a hearty breakfast, met up with their guides, and got settled into their stands with great anticipation. Although the morning saw little deer activity, our Heroes remained encouraged and patient. Everyone headed back to camp for a lunch of hoagies and Italian wedding soup followed by some more target practice. They returned to their stands in the afternoon and one of our Heroes was able to harvest his first-ever doe, an exciting accomplishment that was celebrated by the group. In the evening, our Heroes feasted on a wonderful dinner of chicken marsala, spaghetti with meatballs, Caesar salad, and fresh bread graciously provided by Indiana Country Club. They also enjoyed a decadent tiramisu for dessert. One of the volunteers, Frank Condino, then presented each Hero with a remarkable handmade knife and sheath that had the WWIA logo stamped onto it. Frank had personally commissioned his cousin in Louisiana to make these one-of-a-kind knives just for them, an amazing gesture of gratitude to honor and thank our Heroes for their service and sacrifices. It was an exclamation point to what had already been an exceptional day. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing, talking, and watching some sports before turning in.
Everyone rose early the next day so they could eat from a selection of eggs, coffee cake, sausage, bagels, and muffins, before getting situated into their respective stands and ground blinds. Unfortunately, the weather moved in quickly, and the combination of wind and snow seemed to have most of the animals bedded down. Fortunately, one Hero was able to harvest a deer before they headed back to the lodge to enjoy venison chili for lunch. As the weather subsided, the group headed out for an evening of hunting, and it was met with great success. Another doe was taken as well as the largest buck ever harvested at this event by a Hero. That brought the overall total to five deer harvested, a new event record. It was a spectacular way to end such a memorable time in Pennsylvania. That evening's dinner was an amazing combination of Cornish game hens over wild rice, sweet carrots, and a scrumptious bread pudding for desert provided by chef Stephanie Davis. Our Heroes and Hosts expressed their gratitude and thanks to their fantastic local hunting guides, Tony Brunetta, Scott Crownover, Bernie Petrovsky, Todd Raible, Jeff Smathers, and Steve Thacker for their outstanding contributions and skill over the five days of hunting. This time away truly checked all the boxes for our Heroes, as they experienced top-notch hunting, forged new friendships, and found relaxation and restoration during their stay. High praise and appreciation to Hosts Dan and Susan Bevevino and their family for their tremendous hospitality and care, and for continuing to provide such a world-class event for our Heroes. Additional thanks to WWIA Guide Corbin McClanahan for his coordination and assistance throughout this exceptional trip.


"I want to reach out and thank you for the opportunity WWIA gave me this past weekend hunting in PA! This was the first time in a long time that I was able to forget about everything going on in my life and get outdoors and be surrounded by veterans like myself. The trip was much more than I expected and Corbin was a great guide.
I can’t put it all into words, but the opportunity you gave me on the hunt was better than any therapy I could attend.
Hunting and being outdoors is the only thing outside my family that brings me joy. You were able to give me the opportunity to do what I love most, and I was surrounded by an amazing group of veterans, hosts and guides. I can’t thank you enough for that and I hope next year I will be able to do it again." 

 

12th Annual MO-KAN Ducks, Bucks and Trapping Event

November 18-22  St. Joseph, MO

The WWIA MO-KAN chapter continues to raise the bar year after year! Celebrating their twelfth year of proudly serving our combat-wounded veterans, they welcomed eleven of our Heroes to the 12th Annual MO-KAN Ducks, Bucks, and Trapping Event in St. Joseph, Missouri. This world-class event combines pristine hunting for trophy whitetails and ducks in both Kansas and Missouri, as well as teaching an exceptional hands-on Trapping College. Our Heroes had an unforgettable time in the field as they harvested an impressive total of 10 bucks and 3 does while hunting in Missouri, and 1 buck and 1 doe from their time in Kansas! This was the first year in the event's history that all ten Heroes were each able to harvest a buck. A remarkable feat! They weren't even close to being finished yet though, as they also harvested over 50 waterfowl, with a combination of ducks and geese. Their Trapping College was also off the charts, as they trapped 2 muskrats, 1 coyote, and 5 beaver! It was evident from the smiles, laughs, and camaraderie shared between our Heroes that this event is second-to-none. The MO-KAN event provides the perfect combination of being in a sportsman's paradise, being able to get some much-needed rest and relaxation from the stresses of everyday life, and the ability to make new friendships and connections with exceptional people.

The WWIA MO-KAN event is made up of over 100 patriotic and dedicated volunteers operating a number of different components over five days. The Heroes stayed at the stellar Napier Hunt Club in Napier, Missouri, and their members rolled out the red carpet once again, giving our Heroes a home away from home. This event was graciously sponsored this year by Western States Fire ProtectionVictory ChevroletIMA Financial Group in partnership with HerzogHowden Insurance Brokers, JDJ Group Holdings, The Steve & Mary Hunt Foundation, and so many other amazing patriots and friends. Thank you all for helping us honor our combat-wounded Heroes through your thoughtful giving and faithful support. Terry Supple spearheaded an amazing fundraising effort to raise money for the Foundation and through the generosity of supporters was also able to secure and gift each Hero with a beautiful custom Henry Golden Boy .22 rifle that had the WWIA challenge coin embedded into the stock. Special recognition and thanks to the Napier Hunt Club and its amazing members and friends for the extraordinary support given to the Heroes and the Foundation over the years. High praise to the 139th Airlift Wing for providing all the transportation from Napier Hunt Club in support of our amazing local guides. Our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Host Brian Roderick and the phenomenal Team MO-KAN for continuing to go above and beyond for our combat-wounded veterans. We also recognize and salute all the outstanding MO-KAN volunteers for your hard work, dedication, expense, and the many hours each of you so selflessly put forth to honor and give your heartfelt appreciation to our Purple Heart Heroes. Thank you for twelve exceptional years! Additional applause and thanks to WWIA Guide Jake Whipkey for his tremendous assistance and support throughout the event.  

"I want to thank everyone that was involved with this adventure. My family would like to thank you as well. It is important for me to have something to look forward to. This event is what I have been looking forward to for months. I was apprehensive when I showed up because it is hard for me to let anyone do nice things for me. I am always afraid it will not be genuine. I lost that apprehension real fast when I arrived here at Napier. The love and kindness I felt was strong, and I knew this was a welcoming place. I am amazed at the folks that took so much time out of their lives to show us how much they care for us. This was a truly amazing time. Thank you for the love you all showed."

 

8th Annual Great Creek Hunt Club Deer Hunt

December 2-5   Alberta, VA

Four of our Purple Heart Heroes gathered in Alberta, Virginia, to take part in exceptional deer hunting, camaraderie, and fun at the 8th Annual Great Creek Deer Hunt. This four-day excursion allowed for outstanding hunting opportunities from stands, blinds, and even with the assistance of dogs. After our Heroes arrived, they settled into their accommodations, and had time to familiarize themselves with their weapons in addition to getting in some valuable practice at the shooting range. They spent the remainder of the evening relaxing over dinner and getting acquainted with their fellow Heroes and Hosts.

Our Heroes loved their time in the field and were successful in their pursuit, with one doe and one buck being harvested over the course of their stay. Everyone raved about the opportunity to hunt with dogs, and were grateful for the camaraderie, expertise, and skill provided by their local hunting guides. This trip proved to be just what our Warriors needed, giving them an ideal balance of excitement and relaxation in a beautiful and serene environment. After their daily hunts had concluded, there was lots of downtime to fellowship, talk about shared experiences around the dinner table, and to build new friendships while sitting around the campfire. The food served throughout this event was second-to-none, as they enjoyed meals such as Brunswick stew, homemade spaghetti (courtesy of Bubba's Restaurant), bacon-wrapped venison, and a traditional southern boil. This exceptional event would not have been possible without the generosity and support of Hosts Andy Wilson, the Great Creek Hunt Club, and their amazing event supporters. Thank you all for honoring our Heroes with your time, talents, hospitality and care. Special recognition and thanks to WWIA Guide Derek Duplisea for his tremendous leadership and support.

"First of all, thank you so much for your amazing organization and all your work. I had the best weekend that I have had in many years. Folks at Great Creek Hunt Club treated us like family. I want to thank you for my personal experience, but also and most importantly, for helping wounded Warriors all these years. God Bless."

 

3rd Annual Naples New York VFW Big Buck Hunt

December 9-13   Naples, NY

Three of our Heroes traveled to New York to participate in the 3rd Annual Naples NY VFW Big Buck Hunt. Everyone arrived early on day one, got unpacked and situated, and took time to ensure their weapons were sighted in. Then, they were able to get in a quick afternoon hunt. Later that evening, our Heroes were honored and welcomed with an awesome dinner at the Naples VFW Post 8726. It was a wonderful way to start the event, and our combat-wounded veterans enjoyed the gracious reception and meeting some of the incredible people of Naples, New York.

The next morning everyone hunted until lunchtime and enjoyed pizza and wings generously provided by Luigi's. The hunting continued until the evening, and they did not return empty-handed, as two deer were harvested, a buck and a doe. Everyone headed back, got cleaned up, and the historic Redwood restaurant treated our Heroes to a delicious meal. The remainder of the evening was spent relaxing, sharing experiences, and talking about the day's highlights and the upcoming hunt.

Everyone was back in the field early the next day and hunted until just before lunch. Rennoldsons Market treated our Heroes to a hearty lunch to get them fueled and ready for another afternoon hunt. It was another successful time in the field, as a nice doe was taken, bringing the total to three deer harvested over the past two days. To cap off another great day, a remarkable dinner was served in their honor, courtesy of the owners of Hollerhorn Distilling. The kindness and appreciation shown to our Purple Heart recipients throughout their stay from the local residents and businesses was quite humbling.

On the last day of hunting, our Heroes encountered unseasonably warm weather combined with high winds, which made harvesting a deer difficult, although several young bucks were spotted. That afternoon's lunch, a scrumptious homemade beef stew, was donated by one of the bartenders of the VFW, and later that night, a magnificent farewell dinner was hosted at the Naples VFW. The Heroes relished the opportunity to spend time once again with members of the local community, including LT Timothy Fay of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. He graciously provided the Heroes with some swag for their trip home, which included shirts, hats, drinking glasses, and glasses. It was the perfect way to wrap up a treasured time spent with some very special people.

Our Heroes were incredibly grateful for the memorable time they spent together in Naples, NY and for the incredible outpouring of support and appreciation from this patriotic and generous community. We salute and thank event Hosts, Jason Perry, Rick and Glen Sawyer, and the Naples VFW Post 8726 for their incredible hospitality and care of our Heroes. Special thanks to Gary Polisseni for use of his hunting land and camp, to Steve and Jeanette Decker for generously making breakfast each morning, and to Dave Voss for coordinating and transporting lunches. High praise and appreciation to WWIA Guide Derek VanBuren for his skill and assistance during this five-day event.

"This was one to remember, for sure. Though the event is only in its 3rd year, things ran so smoothly you would think it’s been going on for decades. The little community of Naples/Middlesex provided so much support to make sure the wounded Warriors were comfortable, it is mind-blowing. I leave here truly humbled. I can’t say enough good things about this experience. What made it even more special was getting to know the Hosts, Rick, Glen and Jason (all Heroes in their own right). Overall, an excellent outing, I highly recommend it."

 

8th Annual DoubleCreek Tennessee Whitetail Deer Rifle Hunt

December 17-20   Hohenwald, TN 

Five of our Purple Heart Heroes traveled to scenic Hohenwald, Tennessee to take part in the 8th Annual DoubleCreek Lodge TN Whitetail Deer Rifle Hunt. Upon arrival and once settled in, everyone headed out for a tour of the property, scouted out their hunting stands, and spent time at the property's shooting-range to site in their rifles and prepare for the upcoming hunts. Everyone then enjoyed an amazing homemade dinner of brisket, mashed potatoes, honey carrots, and salad while everyone got to know one another over great conversation and laughs.

Our Heroes rose at 4:00am, so they could grab a good breakfast before heading out and getting situated in their respective hunting spots before daybreak. Although there was a great deal of deer activity around them, no deer were harvested. The local guides explained that the weather was unseasonably warm for December and that the acorn crops were also larger this year, which can reduce deer activity near food plots. Our Heroes broke for a well-deserved lunch and then loaded back up into the side-by-side ATV's to return to their stands and blinds. Persistence and patience paid off as a nice sized doe was harvested late in the afternoon. There were plenty of smiles and stories shared over dinner, which consisted of sausage pasta, salad, and garlic bread. After some relaxing post-dinner downtime, stand and blind locations were discussed and changed up, as everyone was looking forward to tomorrow's hunt.   

Another early morning was welcomed by our Heroes as they feasted on a breakfast of cheese and egg muffins, biscuits and gravy, homemade donuts and bacon, then the Heroes proceeded to their designated places full of anticipation for another great day in the field. The morning hunt was fruitful, with an impressive eight-point buck taken by one of our Heroes. Following lunch, there was a great deal of deer activity, and another doe was harvested. After the evening hunt and another wonderful dinner, the deer were processed and placed in coolers for the trip home. The Heroes, Hosts, and guides spent time talking about their incredible visit to DoubleCreek Lodge over the past few days and how grateful they were for this opportunity. Our appreciation and thanks to Dennis Reynolds and Shelley Cohen for another top-notch event to close out the year. We are honored by your impeccable dedication and care of our Heroes year after year. Additional gratitude to the local volunteers, guides, and donors who go above and beyond to make this event possible for our combat-wounded veterans. Special recognition and thanks to WWIA Guide Matt Phillips for his support and assistance throughout this memorable excursion.

"I truly appreciate the opportunity to come hunt at Double Creek Lodge. I felt the old camaraderie of the Corps again.  Dennis and Shelley made me feel at home and welcome at all times. This was the first time I went deer hunting and actually saw deer. I ended up getting a doe and an 8-point buck. This was an experience I will never forget." 

 

The Bob Lord Veterans Annual Golf Outing

Indian Valley Country Club   Telford, PA  

 

Our gratitude and thanks to The Bob Lord Veterans Annual Golf Outing for their incredibly generous donation of $10,000 to WWIA. This outstanding annual golf tournament has been helping bring awareness and support to veterans for over 15 years. Graciously hosted by Mr. Bob Lord, a combat-wounded Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart recipient, this event brings in over 100 golfers, civilians, and volunteers for a great time and a great cause. WWIA is humbled to have been chosen as a recipient of this long-standing charitable golf tournament. High praise and appreciation to Bob Lord, Ryan Cantwell, John Choyka, Dave Bradley, Jerry Wisla, James Seward, BJ Ryder, Reggie Bishop, Joe Hinderliter and the Indian Valley Country Club. Additional thanks to all the teams and players who participated, to the generous sponsors, and the hard-working volunteers. Thank you once again for your tremendous support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes. ⛳

B'LASTER 2021 Walleye Fall Brawl

October 15 - November 28   Mercer, OH   

We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the B'LASTER 2021 Walleye Fall Brawl for their recent fundraising donation of $17,000 to WWIA. This incredibly generous donation will directly support WWIA’s 11th Annual Lake Erie Trophy Walleye Fishing Event in Ashtabula, Ohio in 2022. WWIA Founder and CEO, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) John J. McDaniel was honored to attend the official tournament check presentation ceremony and received the donation from event founder, Frank Murphy.  

The "Fall Brawl" as it is known, ran for six weeks from October 15th through November 28th, and is proudly celebrating its eleventh year of hosting the biggest fishing event of its kind in the world. What began as a few friends getting together to fish in the fall with a few dollars and donations thrown into the pot, has now grown to over 12,000 participants from 33 states, gathering to fish the Ohio waters of Lake Erie in search of the biggest walleye. There are now dozens of incredible sponsors with the top five prizes this year totaling over $405,000! The event has become so popular, they have now included a kids' division, encouraging youth to disconnect from technology for a bit while connecting with their friends and family in the great outdoors. The Fall Brawl helps provide revenue for local and state businesses, and generously supports charities like WWIA as well as local animal shelters, and food banks.  

Special thanks to Frank and Diana Murphy, Susan Alber, Jason Fischer, and the entire team of Fall Brawl organizers and volunteers, the amazing sponsors, including: B’laster CorporationRanger BoatsVic's Sports CenterAqua TractionBattleborn BatteriesLakewood Products, Cisco Fishing SystemsLowrance/SimradCabela'sSmooth Move Seats,  Quality Mark Inc., Bow StepDenali RodsWJ Miller BuildersGrime StoppersYeager JewelersProTabsPop-A-PoleAmish OutfittersWalleye Nation CreationsH2O Performance PartsRS Nets USAJeff's Trophy Fish MountsCountry Inn & SuitesOffshore TackleFairfield Inn & SuitesCanyon CoolersExpert CraneAmerican Fishing Tackle Co.SunlineChrome Mechanical Inc.Raymond James FinancialJT Custom TackleSleep Inn & SuitesRadAirSamsel Supply CompanyBerkley FishingBandit LuresSports ProfessionalsMustang SurvivalSmarte Jack, and Mid Ohio Sporting Goods. Additional thanks to all the event participants for your thoughtful donations, and congratulations to the winners! We truly appreciate everyone's outstanding patriotism and support of WWIA and our Heroes.

Registration for the 2022 B'LASTER Walleye Fall Brawl begins March 17th. You can get more information about this awesome tournament, get registered, and sign up for email updates on their website at https://lakeeriefallbrawl.com. You can also follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WalleyeFallBrawl. 🐟

 

WWIA Giving Tuesday Fundraiser

November 30

We would like to thank everyone who generously donated to WWIA on Giving Tuesday (November 30, 2021). As a direct result of your thoughtful and gracious donations, we raised a total of $2,938.15! We are humbled and honored by your generosity and your tremendous support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes. Thank you once again for giving back to those who have selflessly served and sacrificed to protect our country and preserve our freedoms! We appreciate your patriotism and faithful support! 

 

Halloween Dance, Veterans Day Dance, New Year's Even Dance

October 30, November 13, December 30

We would like to thank the communities and residents of Good Life RV Resort ParkTowerwood Mobile Home Park, and the Village of La Casa Del Sol for their tremendous support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes. Each of these communities have been faithful supporters of the Foundation and held fundraisers on behalf of our combat-wounded veterans. Towerwood Mobile Home Park held a wonderful Halloween Dance and raised a total of $1,713.73. The Village of La Casa Del Sol hosted an outstanding Veterans Day Dance and donated an impressive $2,800. The residents of the Good Life RV Resort danced their way into the New Year and honored our Heroes with an awesome donation of $2,180. Please join us in saluting these outstanding American Patriots for their generosity and support! Last, but certainly not least, a HUGE thank you to WWIA's own Jaybird and Trish Corcoran (pictured) for deejaying these events and graciously donating the money made from their services back to the Foundation.💜 

 

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)

September 1, 2021 - January 15, 2022

The 2021 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) has officially concluded, and we would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to everyone that made a pledge to WWIA through their CFC selection. We are honored and grateful for your support and thank you for partnering with us to bring honor, connection, and healing to our combat-wounded Heroes. THANK YOU!

 

WWIA Winter 2021 Spotlight

This month, we are honored to introduce you to Mrs. Brook Sparks. Brook has been an integral part of the support team at the annual North Carolina Outer Banks (OBX) Waterfowl Hunt, currently celebrating their 11th year of serving our Heroes. This event is truly embraced and supported by the local community, and Brook's knowledge, logistical coordination, and willingness to help have made a tremendous difference in the success and impact of this event. We are excited to share Brook's WWIA experience and journey with you and appreciate her efforts and dedication in support of our Purple Heart Heroes.

Brook, can you please give us a brief introduction and tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Brook Sparks, and I am from Currituck County, NC. I am a local Realtor and Property Manager. I own a small real estate firm based on the Outer Banks focusing on vacation/weekly rentals/investment properties on our beautiful coastline (Coast Realty). Representing buyers and sellers in my hometown is the very best part of my job. Being able to assist friends or former teachers or neighbors find their forever home or latest investment is the highlight of my career. Helping shape a client's real estate portfolio into a lucrative investment is what I am happiest doing. My husband owns and operates a septic/site work business in Currituck. We have two young boys; Jonathan (5 years) and Bradley (7 years). As soon as our boys learned to walk, they were fishing and not long after that, they were tagging along on early morning hunting trips. Our entire family spends an incredible amount of time hunting and fishing during every season. We are blessed to live in the "Sportsman Paradise'' and from the duck blind in the marsh to the Gulf Stream off of Oregon Inlet, we take every opportunity to hunt, fish and trap. We hope that we have taught our children to cherish and respect the outdoors through conservation and leadership along with safe practices in the woods and on the water. When our sons are not on the water or in the woods, they are playing sports. They play football, soccer and my husband and I help coach their T-ball teams. They love watching the local high school football games and being active in our community. My husband and I agreed a long time ago that we wanted our kids to be raised in the same small community and county that we were brought up in, and it has been a dream come true. 

How did you first get involved with WWIA? 

Many years ago, I managed another property management firm office in Corolla. One day, Mr. Tim Spence, one of the Hosts of the North Carolina OBX Waterfowl Hunt, called our office. Typically, there were usually three other people in that office manning the phones, but we happened to have been short-staffed on that particular day and as fate would have it, I answered the phone. Tim proceeded to tell me about WWIA and this local event and expressed that he didn't think they could continue to offer this opportunity for the Heroes without additional support. Unfortunately, it was becoming too costly for the organization to support on its own without community involvement. Because of my deep Currituck roots, I was shocked and almost embarrassed. If I know anything, I know how the community of Currituck responds to our Military, our Veterans and Law Enforcement/First Responders. I immediately told Tim that my husband is an avid duck hunter and that I had been involved in military charities for many years, yet I was unaware of this event. I asked him to give Currituck one more shot, and we would make up for any lack of support (which was more about getting it in front of the right people) in the past. The rest is history!

What has been the biggest benefit for you since becoming involved with WWIA and being part of the North Carolina OBX Waterfowl Hunt?

I have been supporting this event since before my children were born, so the NC OBX Waterfowl Hunt has always been a part of their lives. Being raised by two extremely patriotic parents and surrounded by a community that only reinforced that respect, I was taught at a young age that freedom isn't free. I was always taught that American Soldiers died for the freedoms we enjoy, and those sacrifices should not be taken for granted. It must have been eight years ago, and I had just had our son, Bradley. I have pictures of him in his carrier on the counter while I was setting up for the event and all the Heroes were admiring him. A few years later, in that same spot, I have a photo of one of the same Heroes (Nick) holding Bradley with his hat on. These Heroes have been part of our lives for so long that our boys look forward to seeing them each year, like you do to family members at Christmastime. Just as I was, we have instilled and taught our sons, Bradley and Jonathan, what sacrifice really looks like and what the true cost of freedom is. They have heard the Heroes tell their stories, and while it makes them sad, it also deepens their appreciation for their service and sacrifice. I am fortunate to show my boys first-hand that real Heroes don't wear capes or football uniforms, but they do wear camouflage. 

Can you tell of our readers some of the remarkable things the Currituck community does to show their appreciation and support for our Heroes and how they honor them each year at the North Carolina OBX Waterfowl Hunt?

I think I am like most Americans. I believe we all want to show our appreciation to our Nation's Heroes. Sure, we can drop a few dollars in a can, send a check to a charity with a high-powered CEO (who might get most of it), we can thank a passing serviceman in the store, but how cool would it be to actually see our contributions and donations at work? As a community, I think a huge benefit is that we are able to witness how our donations or contributions have directly made an impact on these Heroes. We are able to express our appreciation in so many unique ways, and we all give and offer what we can. The owner of the local bait shop donates shotgun shells each year, our local restaurants donate all the meals and catered dinners, and a local homeowner donates the accommodations. Each year, our citizens and other small businesses donate everything from bottled water, milk, porta-potties for the hunt site, snacks, drinks, sandwich fixings and so much more. The conclusion of each event has become Currituck's favorite tradition, a farewell procession through town where the community honors our Heroes. It is so highly anticipated and there is such an outpouring of support, that we have enlisted the help of the Currituck County Sheriff's Office and the NC Patriot Guard to help organize the annual WWIA Escort. There are so many motorcycle groups, Jeep groups, antique car clubs, and people that want to be involved, that it has become quite the task to line up such a lengthy escort. Aside from those riding in the escort, there are hundreds of citizens lining the entire county with posters, flags and messages of thanks. Whether there is wind, rain, sleet or snow, each year, no one complains, they show up faithfully as Currituck pauses for a moment to thank our Purple Heart Heroes for all they have done. At that moment in time, we really are one. We are united, and we stand together in appreciation of this beautiful processional from one end of the county to the other. The patriotism shown is amazing as people wave American flags, place their hands over their hearts, and yell and cheer for our Heroes. Businesses, families, and even little kids proudly hold up signs and as we acknowledge that freedom isn't free, and that their sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. We let everyone know ahead of time exactly where the Heroes are in the escort so that the community of Currituck can know who we are honoring. Though there is planning and coordination across several departments, it is all worth it to have a "vehicle" to say "thank you for your sacrifice." It is a great way to show our Heroes that this is the real America, and that it's not as divided as we are so often led to believe. The truth is, we have more in common than we know. I have a hard time putting the experience in words, but seeing an entire county come together and unite for something we all believe in, is both emotional and exceptional.

The residents and businesses of Currituck are an incredible example of how a community can come together to make a tremendous impact and a genuine difference in the lives of our Purple Heart Heroes. How have you been able to galvanize such impressive support and generosity for WWIA from your community members?   I always joke that, out of all of us (residents of Currituck), everyone just knows I am loud and relentless. Getting the support was easy. I am blessed to call Currituck home and know some of the most generous people imaginable. No one wants credit for their contribution, no one needs recognition; it is all being done for the right reasons and that is what makes it so beautiful. We break the event down into such tiny segments that it makes it possible for everyone to be a part of making it successful. Every person plays an important part and the event would be less impactful if any one person were not involved. I am blessed to have an amazing network of friends and even more blessed that they selflessly donate the use of their beautiful homes to WWIA and our Heroes for lodging during each event. This year, our Heroes were greeted with a beautiful home in Southern Shores. The home had plenty of space and included an elevator to assist those who needed it. Truly, the accommodations are critical, and we have been blessed with phenomenal supporters. Long before the Heroes arrive, cleaners are busy preparing and making beds (donating linens), the carpet cleaner makes sure the carpets are perfect, the fridges are stocked, the churches donate paper products and drop them off, local Realtors pitch in and cover desserts or condiments, and many small businesses and local residents make sure the Heroes do not want for anything during their stay. I decorate the doorways with pictures from local schools and make sure there is a welcome meal, hot and ready for when they arrive. The septic company puts a port-a-potty at the hunt site and since the event has grown so large, they put one at the escort staging spot on the final day of the event as well. No detail is overlooked, as our Heroes deserve the best we can give, and we love being able to give in their honor!

What would you say to others who are considering getting involved with WWIA either as a Supporter or perhaps in some other capacity? If you are looking for a way to bring a community together and really become one, this opportunity is perfect. I would tell anyone thinking of doing an event like this, do not try to take it all on yourself. This year, prior to the Heroes arrival, I was diagnosed with COVID-19, and I was devastated. I was so upset because I look forward to the hunt each year, I look forward to seeing the Heroes and to being in control of every detail and that could not happen. You know what? It went off without a hitch and while I was coordinating from home, it was the best event yet. Every donation was delivered, the house was cleaned, linens were delivered, fridges were stocked, the welcome meal was onsite, flags lined the driveway and meals were coordinated and ready to be delivered. I was forced to hand off the reins to the owner of the donated home (she and her husband are Navy Veterans) and a local cleaning company owner (both longtime supporters). The reason it was still perfect is, I am not alone in my love for America's Heroes. People were chomping at the bit to be even more involved and help in any way they could. It was a perfect example of what I often tell everyone, that this is Currituck's event and the community of Currituck made sure the show went on, and it was done flawlessly. To anyone that may be overwhelmed at the prospect of having such a large event, or unsure of how they can contribute, just get involved, offer what you have, and be willing to accept help. So many people have unique gifts that make this easier, so let them give and let them help. The more people feel a part of the event, and understand that their contributions matter, the better it is and the greater the impact you collectively make.

 

Sponsors and Friends

We would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the following supporters for their gracious contributions and dedication to WWIA and our Heroes.

THANK YOU!

Donations: 

Albert & Roberta Johnson $5,000

Weil-Bohn Charitable Fund $5,000

Mosman Family Donation $2,000

Manning Family Foundation $2,000

Jaybird & Trish Corcoran (donated from their deejay services at the Zephyrhills Classic Car Show & Auction) $1,800

Michael Magaw (via CARS vehicle donation) $1,134.97

Anthony McCann $1,029,97

Steve Clark (via CARS vehicle donation) $1,026.47

Oblander Gereghty Charitable Trust $1,000

Arthur Kandarian $1,000

J. Michael Harty Charitable Foundation $1,000

Marion Rabhan (via CARS vehicle donation) $710.10

Elizabeth Dykes $600

Walter DeForest $500

Thomas Gherini $500

Donations toward 4th North Dakota Wild Pheasant

Greg Opsal $1,000

Bruce and Susan Schreiner $525

Donations toward 8th PA Cast & Blast

Sons of the American Legion Post 779 $1,000

Donations toward 9th DoubleCreek Lodge TN Rifle Deer Hunt

Highland Corporation Charitable Foundation $1,000

Donations toward 8th MO-KAN Ducks, Bucks, & Trapping

Howden Insurance Brokers LTD $2,500

JDJ Group Holdings LLC $2,500

IMA Financial Group in partnership with Herzog $2,500

Scott & Misty Jensen $2,500

Victory Chevrolet Inc. $2,500

Steve and Mary Hunt Foundation $2,500

Shea-Lin Development $1,500

Metal Works Unlimited $1,000

Southside Sertoma Club $1,000

Ultraclean Midwest $1,000

Dragoo Metal Works, Inc. $1,000

Rosecrans Chiefs Association $1,000

GDS, LLC $1,000

Philip A. Gloggner Living Trust $500

Lance Cornelius $500

John and Charlene Orourke $500

Virgil and Shirley Frederes $500

Greenhead Farms $500

Shalz Home Improvement $500

Dan and Brenda Byers $500

Robert and Jane Bolin $500

Mark Williams $500

John Dillow $500

Rodney Stephenson $500

Robert Bolin $500

R/S Electric Corp. $500

D&D Masonry $500

J.B. Hodgdon

Donations toward 3rd Ohio Masons Lake Erie Walleye Fishing

Virgil Tent $5,000

Donations toward 11th SW Ohio Waterfowl & Deer Hunt

Anonymous Donor $2,000

Donations toward 9th Murphy Family & Friends MS Hog Hunt

Taylor Enterprises $2,080

Anne Casey $1,000

Bayou Caddy Fisheries, Inc. $500

Donations toward 13th Grand Ciel Lodge SD Pheasant Hunt

Vern Eide Ford $1,000

Muth Electric, Inc. $1,000

Thomsen Enterprises, LLC $750

 
 

Thank You Fisher House Foundation for Your Outstanding Support of WWIA and our Heroes

We would like to recognize and thank our friends and partners at the Fisher House Foundation for their exceptional support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes. Fisher House is a WWIA Medal of Honor Patron and has graciously provided over $205,551 in airline flight tickets to our Heroes through their Hero Miles Program! Their valued partnership makes a significant impact as it allows WWIA to connect our combat-wounded veterans to other Purple Heart recipients through outdoor sporting events that promote healing and restoration. Thank you, Fisher House, for your outstanding dedication and faithful support in serving our Heroes! Learn more about Fisher House and their Hero Miles program, and see how you can help by visiting them online.

 

Our Gratitude to the Patriots of the Hartford VFW Post 8834

Our gratitude and appreciation to our friends at the Hartford VFW Post 8834 in Hartford, Wisconsin for their generosity in donating funds to purchase new 3-D deer targets for use at WWIA's Camp Hackett in Phillips, WI. Our Heroes were able to get in some great practice on these targets at our Camp Hackett events this fall. Thank you to the outstanding Patriots of the Hartford VFW Post 8834 for your tremendous support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes! 💜

 

High Praise and Appreciation to the NYSDEC

Our gratitude and thanks to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Division of Law Enforcement Officers for their outstanding support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes. The officers of the DEC have generously donated hunting licenses and fees, provided ground transportation and swag for our Heroes over the past three years at the annual Naples VFW Big Buck Hunt in Middlesex, NY. Learn more about the DEC including their support of WWIA by checking out their recent press release. You can also find them on Facebook. Thank you, New York State DEC Division of Law Enforcement Officers for your tremendous service and support!

 

Coming Soon! The WWIA Podcast

We are excited to announce that we will be launching the all new WWIA Podcast very soon, hosted by WWIA Founder and CEO, John McDaniel. This podcast is a great way to stay connected, go behind the scenes, and learn more about the Foundation, our Heroes, Hosts, Supporters, Donors, and much more. It will also serve as another vehicle to help bring greater awareness of our mission to bring Honor, Connection, and Healing to our combat-wounded Purple Heart Heroes, through the power of the great outdoors. We can't wait to share this with you, so stay tuned as we will be sharing information about our launch date very soon through our social media platforms and in our next newsletter! 🎙️

 


Support our Heroes Through CARS Vehicle Donation Program

Did you know that you can help support WWIA and our Heroes by donating your car, truck, van, SUV, boat, motorcycle, ATV, RV, trailer or airplane? Working or not, free towing, tax benefits, and helping support our combat-wounded veterans are just a few of the benefits of using the CARS vehicle donation program. Simply click HERE to start the donation process or call CARS toll-free at 855-500-RIDE (855-500-7433) to have a donation staff specialist help guide you through the donation process. If you would like to learn more about how the CARS vehicle donation program works, please click here. We thank you in advance for your support!

 

Shop and Support WWIA Through AmazonSmile

You can help support WWIA whenever you shop at Amazon through the AmazonSmile program! When you select WWIA as your preferred charity; anytime you shop at Amazon a portion of your purchase will go to support WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes! Every bit helps, and these donations come from simply shopping for items like we normally do. If you're not already signed up, simply click HERE to be taken to the AmazonSmile page, and then select Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation as your charity option. You can also sign up for AmazonSmile on the Amazon Shopping app on your phone. You can find it in the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android. Be sure to tell others, as it's a simple way to support us while doing something you already do. Thank you!

 
 

Want to Learn More About WWIA? Visit Us Online! 

Our website is full of information about who we are, how we serve our Purple Heart Heroes, and how you can get involved!  Visit us today! Click HERE!

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813-938-1390 | info@wwiaf.org | wwiaf.org

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