A Salute to our Military, PF Style
Few PF events have moved me as much as the one I attended this past Saturday. The Scott County PF chapter in Minnesota hosted its 4th Annual Operation Upland Pheasant Hunt for troops who have been deployed overseas.
The event is the brain child and hard work of Stacy Dvorak, a dedicated volunteer for the chapter, who is also their banquet chair. Stacy had been after me to come for a couple of years so I finally put it on my calendar. It was the most amazing day. Almost 50 soldiers attended along with 60 volunteers. Stacy says she has to turn away volunteers for this particular event. There were also 36 sponsors. The Caribou Gun Club hosted in Le Sueur and Federal Ammunition provided all the shot. Greater American Ribs served all-you-can-eat ribs for lunch. The event is actually part of a returning soldier’s rehabilitation and several soldiers told me it was the best event they’ve ever attended. To be eligible they have to have just come back from overseas. One Air National Guardsman lamented that he had to keep signing up to go overseas to be eligible to come each year!
The atmosphere exuded “appreciation” – from the volunteers for the troops’ service and from the troops for the event. Two Lab puppies were given away to two military families as part of “Operation Puppies for Soldiers” that the chapter has also supported.
Our group was comprised of two National Guardsmen, a Marine and our guide, who was also a National Guardsman. A father and wife of a soldier now stationed in Kuwait came along to help with the event. We also had three eager Labs. On a foggy morning we walked the fields and enjoyed the early spring day. During breaks we talked some about their service but more about training dogs. After hunting, everyone had a chance to shoot clays. I realized that this was a chance for the troops to share stories and also learn from one another’s experiences.
On a personal note, I had just learned driving down that my only nephew, who is in the Air Force, will be deployed to Afghanistan this October. The soldiers I talked to were amazingly reassuring and eased my anxiety, which I shared with his mother on the drive home.
Thank you Stacy and the Scott County PF Chapter for this wonderful event! Thank you to all the sponsors and volunteers. But most of all, thank you to the families who serve our country and help to keep us all safe!
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