Wounded Warrior Turkey Hunt: Helping Wounded Veterans Cope

Wounded Warrior Turkey Hunt: Helping Wounded Veterans Cope

Click on the link below to watch the interview!

http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/wvwildlife/2011/ww110518.shtml

“I was up where we parked the ATV’s and I said ‘George, turkeys!”

This is literally a day in the park compared to the last time these former Marines were armed and walking around. Before they were in the desert and cities of Iraq carrying m-16’s looking for terrorists, now it’s twelve gauges and turkey’s their after.

Jonathan Wilson, a former Marine, says today was a reunion of sorts. “I went out today with a guy who was in Iraq with me when I got injured and I haven’t seen him since 2006. He came on this hunt, we were doing ambushes over there killing terrorists. Now we’re trying to kill turkeys. Turkey’s are smarter!”

Sgt. Wilson came home to the US a wounded marine. Today he’s part of the Wounded Warrior Regiment. All these guys are.

Jerome Rogers explains the program, “The Wounded Warrior Regiment that the marine’s have is a battalion on the east and west coasts made up of around 2,400 injured marines. About a third are combat wounded marines. They help marines transition back to the corp or transition out.”

“It’s a big help, it really gets you away from all the stress, constant appointments, going through what ever treatment you’re going through at the hospital.” says Wilson.

Today all these marines have to worry about is bagging a bird.

Ryan Meadows of St. Albans says turkey hunting isn’t easy. “We got on one bird, he didn’t respond. We know where he’s at, so if he stays there, we’ll get him in the morning.”

Just like any other turkey hunters, except these guys are battle hardened, battle tested marines. Survivors. Colonel Leonhardt’s kinda guys.

“About a year and a half ago, I was sitting in the kitchen with my wife and I thought we’ve got this beautiful land and there are a lot of wounded marines we’d love to invite some over to hunt. She was very supportive of it. I knew George, we’d been friends for 20 years he made arrangements with Bethesda Naval Hospital.” says Leonhardt.

An effort that brought old fighting buddies back together again in a peaceful setting that just might help them heal their soul while their bodies mend.

Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Troy Morgan

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