Freedom Hunters

Freedom Hunters recently hosted a group of five decorated combat veterans at Patriot Point. Among the group were:

  • One service member who received a Purple Heart for his injuries
  • A Gold Star brother, whose brother was lost in combat a few years ago
  • A member of the Navy who recovered from injuries at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and is now stationed there until his possible medical retirement
  • A Marine who had worked in communications and had deployed multiple times on Navy ships to assist in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

From Tom Deoudes of Freedom Hunters:

Really, what is not to like about Patriot Point? Every one of our hunts has been as therapeutic and healing as they have been successful in harvest. The young man from Walter Reed had his first taste of waterfowl hunting and he is now an enthusiast. The whole ride back he didn’t stop talking about how great a time he had.

 They all said they enjoyed the time in the goose blind even though there wasn’t a goose to be shot. That is because it is about so much more than just the harvest. They had a fantastic time at the five-stand skeet shooting. [Property manager Tim Mitchell] does a great job making sure they have a full day of activities. For several of them, it was the first time to shoot at a five-stand and they loved it as well.

 After the shoot, most went and had an impromptu diver duck hunt on the shore, while one warrior worked out in the gym and another just sat and relaxed outside. They actually shot one bufflehead but for the warriors it was more about them being together and feeling the bond of working as a team. Most of them miss that feeling.

The goals of Patriot Point and Freedom Hunters are the same. We are both working to heal some of the battle scars and trauma received from military service and to reduce the number of 22 service related suicide deaths a day.  There is no better place to do it than the setting that Patriot Point provides. The warriors enjoyed having a place to sit around and talk at night. They were able to discuss the places they have been and how they may have overlapped on some of their deployments, reminiscing about different bases and even some of the fights they had been in. They enjoyed the group setting, overlooking Slaughters Creek while enjoying breakfast and laughing at Tim’s stories or about who shot what.

There is only one thing they all said they didn’t enjoy and that was that it only lasted two days. One of the warriors said that the “VA doctors ought to prescribe a heavy dose of Patriot Point to all our combat vets”. That is why I say Patriot Point is the total package.