The Send a Vet Foundation sponsors hunting trips and other outdoor adventures for wounded veterans.
If you're looking for an organization dedicated to helping veterans recover from their physical and psychological scars by harnessing the healing power of the outdoors, then you need to check out the Send a Vet Foundation. The foundation, which is headquartered in the State of Washington, organizes hunts, fishing expeditions, rafting trips, and other outdoor events in order to assist wounded and disabled veterans.
Over the years, the Send a Vet Foundation has helped countless veterans recover from physical, emotional, and psychological wounds suffered in Iraq, Afghanistan, and numerous other conflicts all over the world. Their primary goal is to get wounded and disabled veterans out of their homes and into the woods. The trips are fully paid for by donations and they strive to foster a safe and fun environment for veterans.
One of the main ways that Send a Vet accomplishes this mission is by organizing Idaho spring bear hunts for veterans each year. All hunters stay in a cabin owned by a member of the foundation's board of directors and hunt in the woods surrounding the cabin. Since it is legal to hunt bears over bait in Idaho, this is an ideal way for many veterans with a wide range of physical abilities to have a great hunt.
Chris Loll (pictured below) is a Marine Corps veteran of the Gulf War era and is one of many veterans who has attended Send a Vet sponsored events (including two Idaho bear hunts). He first participated as a hunter and now volunteers for Send a Vet. According to Chris:
It's an experience that really recharges and resets you and gets you out of the house. It feels good to be in that environment again because I really miss that camaraderie. It's like stepping back in time: you're not so high strung and I could just feel the stress melting away when I arrived.
Experiences like this have been literally life changing for countless veterans, many of whom did not think that they would be able to enjoy the outdoors again after being wounded. Send a Vet specifically tailors all of their outdoor adventures to each individual veteran and can accommodate veterans with a wide range of physical abilities including veterans in wheelchairs and those with visual impairment.
Send a Vet trips are not just for serious hunters either. They have taken out many veterans who have never hunted before and can loan a rifle to a veteran who needs one for one of their sponsored hunts.
In addition to bear hunts in Idaho, Send a Vet also sponsors deer, pheasant, waterfowl, and turkey hunts. Don't want to hunt? That's no problem either. Send A Vet organizes other outdoor events, like fishing or rafting trips, as well.
Regardless of the event, their trips are very low key and you can participate as much or as little as you would like. If you would rather just sit by the fire or enjoy being the woods on a Send a Vet trip, they are perfectly fine with that too.
Unlike many other charities, Send a Vet is a small organization that is run completely by volunteers, the majority of whom are military veterans themselves. This means that nearly 100% of all donations go to helping wounded veterans. Rick Sutter and MarkDaniel Brasel do most of the leg work involved in planning and organizing these trips. Rick is a Vietnam veteran and MarkDaniel (pictured below) is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Send a Vet Foundation also prides itself on recreating the familiar bonds that develop between members of the military when they serve together. Since virtually everyone on these trips, from the hunters themselves to the volunteers, is a veteran, they have been extremely successful in this regard and countless friendships have developed between veterans that met on trips sponsored by Send a Vet.
To learn more about Send a Vet, or to make a donation, visit the Send a Vet website or their Facebook page. If you or someone you know is a combat wounded or disabled veteran and would like information on how to participate in a hunt or other outdoor adventure, reach out to them through their web site.
The Send a Vet Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.