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Notes from the Field: November 2018

WWIA via 

Sat, Dec 22, 1:47 PM (23 hours ago)
to Ali

 This beautiful scene captured by Brian Roderick, Host of  the 9th Annual MO-KAN Ducks, Bucks, and Trapping Event

Notes From the Field: November 2018

November was another exciting month at WWIA as we hosted seven outstanding events that included duck, deer, and hog hunting, trapping, fishing, and even hooking snapping turtles. We've got an outstanding behind the scenes look at one of our Purple Heart Heroes in this month's Spotlight Feature and are proud to share with you the details of our newest WWIA documentary. We're closing in on the end of the year but there are still plenty of great events and opportunities ahead. As always, thank you to everyone for your faithful support of WWIA and our amazing Heroes.


Events and Fundraisers

CFC Season is Here! Help Support WWIA with a Pledge!

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season is coming to a close! Please consider a pledge to WWIA before the January 11th deadline. The CFC allows federal employees and retirees to make charitable contributions to several eligible charities they personally select by directing a portion of their income or annuitant payments to those non-profits. CFC is the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign. Your pledges and contributions received help the WWIA continue our work assisting in the healing and restoration of our Heroes. As you look to make your CFC charity designations this season, we would appreciate you considering making a pledge to WWIA and making a direct difference in the lives of our Purple Heart Heroes. Click here to be taken to the CFC Donor Pledge Site. We thank you in advance for your consideration and for your faithful support as you partner with us.

5th Annual Kuneytown FLX Ducks & Bucks Hunt

November 7th - 11th

Five of our Heroes were welcomed to Seneca Falls, New York for The 5th Annual Kuneytown FLX Ducks & Bucks Hunt. Our Heroes were honored with an escort into town courtesy of local law enforcement and the Waterloo American Legion Riders. Once settled in, they enjoyed target shooting classes and were presented with generous gifts from the local Ducks Unlimited Seneca Falls Chapter and boots from Dryshod Footwear. The next morning our Heroes had a great time getting in some waterfowl hunting with Jay Barnes of  Frontenac Fowlers Guide Service. Later in the day, they went to multiple locations to deer hunt, including the Seneca Army Depot, a former munitions storage facility at just over 10,000 acres. This protected government land has allowed the local deer population to flourish for more than 60 years, including the extremely rare white deer. The following day included some goose and deer hunting before being honored with a wonderful banquet at the Kuneytown Sportsmen's Club. WWIA Founder and CEO, John McDaniel was honored to have joined our Hosts and Heroes for this event and was presented with a beautiful hand-crafted Henry Rifle by event Host, Dr. Keith Tidball. The camaraderie, connections, and friendships made at this amazing event will follow our Heroes for many years to come. We would like to express our since appreciation and thanks to Dr. Keith Tidball and the Kuneytown Sportsmen's Club for graciously hosting and honoring our Heroes. This event would not have been possible without the outstanding patriotism, care, and dedication of this wonderful community of people. Special recognition to WWIA Guide Derek VanBuren for his assistance throughout the event.
"This trip has truly been one of the best experiences of my life. I have made so many new friends and they all became family instantly. What this organization does is provide a chance for wounded veterans to come together and share their experiences. The hunting has been absolutely amazing. The professionalism and dedication are so evident when they would take us out. These folks wanted us to be not just successful in the woods here but when we got home. Teaching classes on how to clean and process wild game was a really cool part of this trip. To the staff of this event, I just wanted to say thank you so much. You all worked your tails off to make sure this event was successful, and I hope you realize it went above and beyond your wildest expectations. What you do is give vets another chance to feel like they are normal again."

5th Annual W PA Archery Deer Hunt

November 8th - 11th

The 5th Annual W PA Archery Deer Hunt welcomed four of our Heroes to Rural Valley, PA. Our Heroes arrived to enjoy an outstanding home-cooked meal and were each presented with custom-made blankets courtesy of Dan and Susan Bevevino's daughter, Catherine. Our Heroes hit the fields early the next morning settling into their blinds. After a morning of hunting, our Heroes were given a tour of one of the local guides collection of game animal mounts. The Heroes enjoyed this personal touch and hearing the stories behind these harvests and hunts. Our Heroes headed back out to the blinds in the afternoon before returning to the lodge for a warm meal and some great bonding time around the dinner table. The atmosphere made it seem like they were among family, making it easy to relax, enjoy incredible meals like venison stew and Italian wedding soup, share experiences and form new friendships. We would like to recognize local guides Todd Raible, Scott Crownover, Tim Harvey, and Steve Thacker for honoring our Heroes with their tremendous skills and hospitality. Additional thanks to Frank Bevevino, Stephanie Davis, Frank Condino, and Bill Richter for their outstanding dedication and contributions. Our highest praise and gratitude to Hosts Dan and Susan Bevevino and family for their incredible hospitality and care of our Heroes, and also to WWIA Guide Jeremy Smith for his outstanding work throughout the four-day event.

 "Thank you so much for the hospitality and support. I had an amazing time. Dan and his family made everyone feel so welcomed. The food was top-notch, and the hunting farm is such a beautiful place. Thank you for allowing me to hunt and connect with other veterans. This trip gave me a chance to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Thank you for everything." 

6th Annual Murphy Family & Friends Gulf Coast Cast & Blast

November 8th - 12th

Beautiful Bay St Louis, MS proudly welcomed five of our Heroes to the 6th Annual Murphy Family and Friends Gulf Coast Cast n' Blast Event. Unfortunately, the weather took an unexpected turn as the temperature dropped and high winds moved in, taking the fishing portion of this event off the table. This didn't deter our Heroes though as they had the opportunity to experience hog hunting using dogs, a unique yet highly effective method. Our Heroes enjoyed their time in the field and their efforts were met with success. The food and hospitality were top-notch and our Heroes had plenty of time for fellowship and to share stories and experiences throughout the five-day event. This continues to be an exceptional event due to the dedication and assistance of so many volunteers, supporters, and a supportive and welcoming community. Additional thanks and recognition to Host Audie Murphy and family for their outstanding coordination of this event and their faithful support throughout the years. High praise to WWIA Guide Mark Broda for his leadership and efforts throughout this event.  

"Thank you for bringing us to join you on this hunt!  Thankful to be a part of WWIA.  Semper Fi until next time."

5th Annual Double Creek Lodge TN Muzzleloader/Archery Deer Hunt

November 9th - 12th

Four of our Heroes converged on beautiful Hohenwald, TN to take part in the 5th Annual Double Creek Lodge TN Muzzleloader/Archery Deer Hunt. Our Heroes started their first day off with a delicious home-cooked breakfast before heading out to their assigned hunting areas. After an enjoyable day in the field, our Heroes had plenty of downtime to enjoy the plethora of food and desserts and to get to know one another over stories and laughter. The next morning our Heroes set out for another full day of hunting and then returned back to the lodge for another first-class dinner. On the last evening, our Warriors spent several hours talking about their lives, their service, their injuries, and what they hoped to do going forward. It was a great discussion and time of sharing amongst the Heroes. We would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Hosts Dennis Reynolds and Shelly Cohen for their tremendous hospitality and support of WWIA and our Heroes throughout the years. Special thanks to WWIA Guide Joe Liddell for his outstanding efforts and care throughout the event. 

"The absolute best thing I can say is that I felt like I was home. You both have such open hearts. I felt as if I was with family. The only regret I have is that I have to leave. You have such an amazing and beautiful property, it is therapeutic. Thank you for hosting us this weekend. It is an absolutely amazing opportunity you are providing for us all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

3rd Annual WI Prairie Du Chien Duck Hunt

November 9th - 12th

Two of our Heroes traveled to Wisconsin for the 3rd Annual Prairie Du Chien Duck Hunt. They were warmly welcomed at the Duck Inn Lodge by members of the local community and were treated to an outstanding fish fry while getting to know everyone. They were also presented with some Rig Em' Right Waterfowl swag, warm clothing, backpacks, hand muffs, sling, chuuk, and a nice neoprene shell box holder. The next morning our Heroes hit the fields after a nice breakfast and quickly went to work harvesting some beautiful ducks. After a light lunch, our Heroes had the chance to meet with Mike Valley of Valley Fish and Cheese and from the Discovery series "River Rats" to check his commercial fishing traps and active gill-netting. They were able to pull nets and observe some large northern pike and walleye that were caught and released. It was a unique opportunity and our Heroes enjoyed the conversation and education. The next day our Heroes traveled down to the Mississippi River to successfully hunt for Canvasback ducks off the river bank and then learned the art of "hooking" snapping turtles from Mike Valley, with two of the six turtles caught weighing over 30 lbs! After an adventurous day, our Heroes were honored and treated to a delicious waterfowl dinner cooked by Kenneth and Luis Herron while enjoying the conversation and camaraderie among one another. This was another exceptional event as our Heroes formed new friendships, enjoyed the bounty of some amazing hunting experiences, and left with a cooler full of ducks as they returned home. Special thanks and recognition to Host Tim Macht and friends for proudly hosting and caring for our Heroes on this spectacular event. Additional appreciation and thanks to Matthew Cagle, Scooter Yeomans, Chico Cjeka, and Mike Valley for their dedication and contributions, and to WWIA Guide Jon French for his outstanding support throughout the event.    

"I had never been hunting before this trip and I had some reservations about killing a living thing, but to see how much the animal is appreciated and how this is a way of life really changed my perspective on hunting. Not only did I learn the essentials of duck hunting, but I also picked up a couple skills that are more than likely becoming a lost art. The one thing that usually keeps me from participating in events like this is that I do not like being treated like a charity case. The people at the Duck Inn and Rig Em Right did a great job of making me feel welcome, appreciated and comfortable. It is great to meet these Americans who truly appreciate us. I must say the best part was meeting all of the cool, humble and down to earth people. That, at least for me, restores my hope for our wonderful country. Thank you for making this Veteran's Day weekend a weekend I won't forget."

9th Annual MO-KAN Ducks, Bucks, and Trapping Event

November 15th - 19th

The WWIA MO-KAN chapter has done it again! This amazing event combined world-class hunting for trophy whitetails and ducks in both KS and MO, as well as a successful Heroes Trapping College. The WWIA MO-KAN event is made up of over 100 dedicated volunteers operating many different components and lasting 5 days. The Heroes stayed at the world-class Napier Hunt Club in Napier, MO whose members rolled out the red carpet once again, making the Heroes feel right at home. Our sincere thanks to Napier Hunt Club and its amazing members and friends for the support given to the Heroes & the Foundation. On Friday, Nov. 16th, the WWIA MO-KAN fundraiser banquet was held with well over 400 supporters of the Foundation in attendance. The banquet was a huge success and is a community favorite. WWIA Founder and CEO, John J. McDaniel was also present at the banquet and throughout the hunting event, which added a special element to the festivities. The banquet was sponsored this year again by Western States Fire Protection. Special recognition and thanks to the banquet committee members and Banquet Chair Cari Evans. Saturday, Nov. 17th, the Heroes attended a dinner prepared and hosted by the Christian Fellowship Church in Mound City, MO. On Sunday, Nov. 20th, the Heroes attended a special dinner at Napier Hunt Club. Terry Supple and Ryan Schultz spearheaded an amazing fundraising effort involving the Mound City, MO area duck clubs to raise money for the Foundation and secure a Henry Golden Boy .22 for all the Heroes. Special thanks to the 139th Airlift Wing for providing all the transportation from Napier Hunt Club to the guides. The MO-KAN Machine raised over $55,000 this year thanks to all of our generous patrons at the dinner as well as individual donors and MO-KAN event sponsor Victory Chevrolet! Thank you MO-KAN volunteers for all your hard work, expense and hours each of you so tirelessly put forth in honor of our Heroes!

"It has truly been an honor to be hosted by the finest people this great country has to offer. Never having been to MO before I can tell you it truly does my heart and soul good to know the kind of people living here. I was brought into different homes during this opportunity. Being welcomed like that, shaking hands, getting hugs, fed, loved, and just being honestly treated like family has done something I cannot express. I'm taking a lot more home than gifts and meat. I've got my new friends, memories, and gratitude that will help to support me for the rest of my life. Thank you. I truly love each of you."  

3rd Annual MN Whitetail Deer Hunt

November 15th - 20th

Four of our Heroes took in some phenomenal whitetail deer hunting over four days in scenic Mabel, MN. This part of Minnesota has the ideal terrain and conditions for some top-tier trophy bucks, and our Heroes enjoyed world-class hunting, food, and accommodations throughout their stay. The hunting certainly lived up to the expectations as our Heroes were able to harvest beautiful mature does. The highlight of the trip was the opportunity for our Heroes to form close bonds with their fellow Purple Heart brothers and to leave with new friendships and support in their journey. Special recognition and appreciation to Jay Kim for proudly hosting our Heroes and working consistently to raise the bar on an already superb event. Special thanks to local guides Chris Treptow and Cale Edstrom and to property owners Fred and Trudy Horihan, and Gerald Peters for their outstanding support and the use of their hunting lands. Our gratitude to Mike Ricci and Scott Novak for their assistance, to Estelle's for a wonderful dinner, to Jim Nichols for his tremendous coordination and care, and to WWIA Guide Jeremy Smith for his support and efforts throughout the event. In addition, we want to thank all of the volunteers and supporters for their incredible dedication in making this event so successful.

"Thank you so much for the chance to come on a hunting trip of a lifetime. Everything for this trip has been just amazing but totally stress-free from start to finish. The travel and licenses were taken care of and explained very well, any questions were answered immediately. All needs were met, and everyone involved was very professional and polite. The guides really went over the top making sure everyone saw lots of game. I shot the biggest deer I've ever seen and got to do several other firsts, including flushing some pheasants. The base house with Mr. Jay was mind-blowing as well as the 5-star meals we were fed. We were also able to meet several of the local farmers and interact with them which was a high point on the trip for me. I'll never be able to put into words just how much this trip meant to me, so I will simply say thank you."

The 2018 Pave Tech Contractor Party WWIA Fundraiser


WWIA would like to recognize and thank PaveTech and Case Construction Equipment for their generous donation of $1,630.00 raised from their 2018 Contractor Party WWIA Fundraiser. THANK YOU for your incredible support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes!

Boulder Hill Elementary​ "Hats Off to Veterans" Fundraiser​


We would like to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to all of the staff and students of Boulder Hill Elementary School in Montgomery, IL for their incredible support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes. Boulder Hill held a fundraiser on November 9th called "Hats off to Veterans." Students had the option to donate $1.00 to the fundraiser and were then able to wear a hat all day at school. WWIA is truly honored to have been selected as the recipient of Boulder Hill's Fundraiser. Special thanks to Principal Mike Mitchinson and to all of the parents, students, and staff for their outstanding patriotism and support. Go Bobcats!

The Inaugural WWIA 5K is Coming! 

Tampa Bay, get ready for the WWIA 5K! Join us on Saturday, January 12, 2019. This timed 5K offers you the choice to run, walk, or stroll through beautiful Al Lopez Park. Our race is professionally timed and the Overall Top Male and Female finishers will receive prizes. Top Male and Top Female finishers in each age category will also be acknowledged. Stay for our after-party for ice cream, awards, and more! Discounted registration is available for Veterans who show their Military ID or Driver's License with a "V" symbol at packet pickup with Promo Code VET20. Purple Heart recipients will be able to participate free with registration to WWIA by using Promo Code PHFREE. Visit and complete all three steps at the top of the page. Proceeds benefit the WWIA. We also have limited sponsorship opportunities available. Please email us at: for more information. Thank you.


WWIA November Spotlight 

For our November Spotlight feature, we are honored to introduce you to WWIA Hero and Guide Derek VanBuren. Derek is a U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard Veteran with 20 years' experience. He has been proudly married to wife Katie for 15 years and together they have two amazing children, Eli (13), and Amelia (11). They currently reside in Negaunee, Michigan in the Upper Penninsula. Derek is a graduate of Northern Michigan University and works as a Supply Sergeant in the Active Guard Reserve. He also serves as a guide with Bear Mountain LLC, conducting bear hunts in the Northern part of the state. Derek plans to expand his guiding duties and also run a trapline for furbearers when he retires from the Active Guard Reserve in a few years. He would also love to host an event for WWIA in the future. 

How did you first get involved with WWIA? 

I first learned of WWIA while at Walter Reed Army Hospital in the summer of 2009.  While there I filled out an application and a few months later I received a call from LTC (retired) John McDaniel inviting me to hunt with him at Camp Hackett in the fall of 2010. It was an absolute blast and an awesome experience getting to meet John, Jake Whipkey, and the other Heroes that were on that event. After the event, I sent a note to John thanking him for the opportunity and for what he is doing for Purple Heart recipients across the country. John asked me if I would be interested in being an Associate with the Foundation.  I immediately said, "absolutely."

Why do you choose to be a WWIA Guide on our events?

Hunting, fishing, trapping, and the outdoors have always been a big part of my life. After returning from overseas, the first thing I wanted to do after spending time with my family and friends was to walk in the solitude of the peaceful woods near my home. It's spending time afield that is such great therapy and I am blessed to see what it does over and over again for other Purple Heart recipients on these awesome events that WWIA has to offer. I also like to be able to share what knowledge and experiences I have gained over the years with others, as well as learn from others. After every event, I feel I'm gaining so much more knowledge and experience.

What has been the biggest benefit for you since becoming involved with WWIA? 

Without question, the biggest benefit has been seeing what it does for others. I love seeing fellow combat-wounded vets taking joy in catching a big fish, harvesting a nice spring turkey, or telling the story of how they made the shot on a nice whitetail buck. Anything that might be bothering them goes away when things like this happen, and I can't help but take a lot of joy in that. I also enjoy meeting and spending time with the Hosts and volunteers of these events. They are some of the most amazing people that you will ever meet! I have made many great friends as a result of the Foundation in all of the great places I have been able to go.  

What is something you would like others to know about WWIA and your own experience with the Foundation?  

WWIA is a way of saying thank you to our nation's Purple Heart recipients for the sacrifices that they have made, and even though it is hunting and fishing, it is really so much more than that. It's about fellowship, camaraderie, excitement, happiness, and so much more. I have never been on an event that laughs weren't shared, and just being able to enjoy each other's company while doing an activity that is mutually enjoyed is such a great experience. This Foundation is doing amazing things for those that have sacrificed a lot for our country.

What would you say to others who are considering getting involved with WWIA as a Hero or in another capacity? 

Get involved! Even if you aren't an avid hunter or fisherman, give it a try! You won't be sorry! I have seen so many Heroes enjoy themselves so much and get a tremendous amount out of these events. It has changed lives; I know it has definitely changed mine and I am forever thankful for that! 


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!


**Donnie Hodge- $1,443.75 via V-Dac/CARS Donation**

**Bruce Wise- $999.91 via V-Dac/CARS Donation**

**Andrea Santoro- $663.91 via V-Dac/CARS Donation**​

**Nelson W. Holt Jr.- $2,500**

**Joseph Vander Zanden-$2,000**

**Patrick and Mary Fisher -$1,000**

**Peggy Verick and Scott Buckman-$500**

**Donations toward 10th Annual Grand Ciel Lodge Pheasant Hunt:

Vern Eide- $1,000,

Muth Electric- $1,000**

**Donations toward Inaugural ND Wild Pheasant Hunt:

Garrison Super Valu- $5,358,

Younghawk Bear Post 253- $500**

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