WOLF LAKE, IL (KFVS) - A handful of local veterans spent the day bagging birds on a Wounded Warrior hunt on Wolf Lake.
Veterans in attendance said these kinds of events are all about giving the men and women who have served the country a break.
They said when they do these kinds of things, it pulls them out of their daily struggles through relaxing time with Mother Nature and their brothers in arms.
Everett Redner, who served in the U.S. Army supports that.
“It’ll get your mind off of what has happened. I mean hanging out with guys that have so much in common with you,” he said.
Six veterans joined James Frerking on a snow goose hunt through his hunting club, Snows Unlimited. He said he’s been putting these hunts on for nearly a decade.
“This little bit what I can do to give back is a big part to them,” he said. "I know it seems small to me, but it’s a big deal it really is.”
Everyone in the blind today had a similar story to Ben Wilkins, also Army, on how they started coming to these kinds of hunts.
“I had a friend that was an avid hunter, and he noticed that I was kind of stand offish in my house. Kind of becoming a hermit,” he said. "And he just told me about the program and getting out in the great outdoors and kind of coming back to society.”
Frerkings said something he’s noticed over the years, is how it’s not so much about guides and volunteers talking with veterans who have been changed by their experiences, but by them talking to each other.
“Even them talking with each other,” he said. "They may not open up to me or you, but they’ll open up to the other veterans.”
Shawn Flanhean, former U.S. Army combat medic, said that’s what it’s all about.
“You get extremely tight dealing with that kind of thing,” he said. "Then you’re over here with those people and enjoying some recreation. It really helps.”
So although these men haven’t always known each other, or even served together, you wouldn’t be able to tell by watching them hunt together.
“I didn’t actually serve with any of them,” Redner said. "But, in a way, I guess we did. We were somewhere and some point. So we kinda know what each other’s been through. It’s a whole other family.”