A Day for Veterans

Enduring Gratitude event combines hunting, fellowship
Jan. 31, 2013 @ 07:13 PM

Keith Harrison and more the 50 veterans statewide are preparing for a weekend of hunting, storytelling and plain old fun.
Enduring Gratitude will host its Pheasant Tower Shoot Saturday at Beaver Pond Sporting Club in Snow Camp. The event is designed to show appreciation to veterans and is open to veterans statewide.
Harrison, a retired military medic from High Point, has done two tours of duty during 24 years of service in the military and National Guard.
“One thing I like about the program is that it is not just for the wounded veterans, but also for the veterans that have served overseas,” Harrison said. “It shows respect for them, too. It is good to show the support to all of us.”
Harrison, who has a post-traumatic stress dog, said he is expecting to have fun Saturday.
“I think that it will be a fun day. You get to interact and see the soldiers, who may possibly know each other,” Harrison said. “It gets me back into the shooting arena a little bit. I used to do it when I was younger, and this gives me a chance to do it again.”
Harrison said the event gives veterans a chance to talk to each other about their experiences and what they saw in war.
“Soldiers can talk to soldiers. What is neat about this is that you are sharing a common bond or interest, like shooting sports, but you are also getting to interact with people who know and have been overseas,” Harrison said. “Most veterans do not talk about it a whole lot, but when you are with someone who has been over there, it is a mutual understanding. It helps, and this gives us a chance to get with other veterans and talk.”
More than 50 veterans are expected to descend on Beaver Pond to shoot, share and fellowship with each other. After coffee and doughnuts, the veterans will be split into two groups. While one group is hunting, another group will play shooting games and fish. At the end, both groups will come together for an awards ceremony and door prizes.
There are 50 volunteers who will assist the veterans with shooting and retrieving, and will clean and prepare the pheasants for the veterans to take home with them.
Dick Jones, president of Enduring Gratitude, said the nonprofit wanted to give back to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for their country.
“We wanted to do something for all veterans. We have realized how much these guys sacrificed in their lives,” Jones said. “They give up so much to serve. They miss babies being born, little league games, dance recitals, anniversaries, and some of them lose their marriages because of their service. They all sacrifice, and we just wanted to be broad-based because we appreciate all of them, whether they come home physically damaged or not. It’s tough on them.”
For more information on Enduring Gratitude, visit www.enduringgratitude.org.
cdavis@hpe.com | 888-3657