HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes hosts 53 soldiers - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes hosts 53 soldiers

MOUNT VERNON, IL (KFVS) - HOOAH, it stands for Healing Outside Of A Hospital.

Over the next four days, six wounded warriors from Fort Campbell will take to the outdoors as part of the Deer Hunt for Heroes program put on by fellow veterans in Mount Vernon.

The day began with the warmest of welcomes, followed quickly by a hot meal.

“I feel like I am a celebrity. It is absolutely amazing,” said Jonathon Marion

“Here we are being treated like rock stars,” said Staff S Matthew Taylor

It won't be long before the wounded warriors head out into the backwoods in hopes of bagging a buck.

This isn't the first trip Staff Sergeant Matthew Taylor, who used a cane following a tour in Afghanistan.

He still remembers his first hunt, and how it saved his life.

“Last minute, last day of the hunt, I shot a double bearded turkey which now sits in my office. About two hours after that, I forgot about the cane, I was jumping around and stuff. That to me is called a clue,” he said.

He said he eventually burned the cane.

For Jonathon Marion, being outdoors is about being at peace, something that didn't come easy during his time at war.

“When you get out here, you just have the overwhelming feeling of, ‘you're good, you have nothing to worry about.' You can just kind of forget all of that stuff and get lost in the moment,” said Marion.

“If they're willing to serve for us, while I go through my daily life, and pay that kind of sacrifice, it is just amazing to know them,” said program organizer Tom Gaither

While the goal is to bring home a trophy, these men will tell you it's more about the bond they make in sharing this experience together.

“The hunt and fishing is one percent of what this program is about,” said Sergeant Taylor.

“Whether I shoot something, whether I see something or not, this environment already, I've only been here an hour and my heart is going a mile a minute,” said Marion.

This year, HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes will host 53 soldiers.

Meals, gear and a place to stay were all donated through the program.

If you'd like to know more about the program, to get involved or to donate, you can visit HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes on Facebook

Donation can be mailed to:

HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes
PO Box 351
Stanford, IL 61774

Make Check payable to: HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes

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