Rochester MN: Chester Woods Park of Rochester, The Olmsted County Veterans Service Office along with the Mayo – Hiawatha Chapter of the DAV hosted a deer hunt for disabled veterans November 14th -17th in Chester Woods Park. Twenty six ( 26 ) disabled veterans and eight ( 8 ) family members participated in the hunt. Over the course of four days, fifteen ( 15 ) deer were harvested and it was a great time for all.
The disabled veterans who participated enjoyed a kick-off dinner on Wednesday, lunch each day during the hunt, and all kinds of on-site volunteer support including butchers who processed and packaged the deer.
A thank you note from one of the participants is indicative of the impact on the quality of life the event has:
“Please thank everyone who participated in the Chester Deer Hunt. Words can’t tell you how deeply me and my family appreciate it. My wife saw the announcement in the Veteran’s newsletter. This has been a hard year for my family with my health issues as well as having to move from our country home in the fall of 2012. That is where I had hunted for 13 years and I was really down about not going hunting this year until my wife showed me the article. I didn’t expect to have my name drawn, a real blessing for me. The timing was perfect and one of my sons was able to take vacation and the other fell on his days off. This is the first time I had the opportunity to hunt with both of my sons in a very long time. Although we didn’t get any deer, we were amazed at the generous gift of lifetime DAV membership, banquet, hats, rangers, volunteers, gathering place with breakfast and lunches, hotel discount and everything else that was done. This trip was such a blessing and will be a wonderful memory for many years to come for my boys and I. We are praying this hunt can continue and we would love to participate again if my name is drawn. God bless you all.”
This 3rd annual hunt for disabled veterans involved many sponsors and volunteers including Olmsted County Veteran Service Officers Neil Doyle and Nate Pike, both MN DAV Mayo-Hiawatha Chapter 28 members. The MN DAV organization and chapters have been very actively involved in the sponsorship of hunting and fishing events for disabled veterans as a part of their MN Outdoors initiative.
The volunteers, 26 hunters and 8 family members who participated gathered for a group picture during the hunt.
Tom Ryan, Olmsted County Parks Superintendent, and his staff, and Rich Daly Mayo-Hiawatha DAV Commander would like to thank everyone involved in making the hunt a huge success.