On May 17, 2014, Armed Forces Day, I had the privilege to attend the Inaugural Sportsmen For Warriors Fundraiser. Armed Forces Day was established by President Harry S. Truman as a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. The fundraising event was a gathering to honor and help the warriors, patriots, and heroes who have sacrificed so much for America’s freedoms.
The fundraiser featured Marcus Luttrell, author of Lone Survivor. Luttrell, a former Navy SEAL, is the only survivor of Operation Redwing. Operation Redwing was a combined/joint military operation during the War in Afghanistan, which cost the life of Luttrell’s three SEAL squadmates and 16 other SEALs and Army Special Ops soldiers. Luttrell delivered a powerful speech about his experiences that demonstrated the courage, sacrifice, honor, and patriotism that our military members show everyday.
It was an amazing opportunity to attend this year’s fundraiser and hear these men speak. For the past ten years, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) has honored our veterans with over 50 different dream hunting, fishing, or family trips as their way of truly “thanking them” for serving our country and providing our freedoms.
“After attending the Full Curl Meeting, a private VIP meeting with VP Cheney, where two veterans were awarde their dream Arctic Red trophy Caribou hunt, sponsored by KUIU, Tom Welch, CEO of Maerik, a 286 station gas/Convenience store approached SFW leaders about doing something big,” says Don Peay, Founder of Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife. “So, Sportsmen for Warriors was formalized, and the May 17 event with Marcus Lutrell, Governor Herbert, Us Congressman Chris Stewart, Jason Chaffetz, and many other business and community leaders was organized. 3 veterans, who have been past recipients of trips, love and friendship, shared their jape art felt personal experiences and gratitude, some stating it saved their lives, marriages, and families!”
Others in attendance:
- Governor Gary Herbert (UT)
- Rep Jason Chaffetz (UT)
- Rep Ted Stewart (UT)
- NBA All-Star Karl Malone
- Lt. Col Sparky Peterson (helped rescue Marcus Luttrell)
There are estimated to be over 600 people who were in attendance, which included veterans, sponsors, and general public donors who were interested in the program and speakers.
The money raised at this event, over $150,000 in total, went to help provide hunting and fishing trips to returning soldiers as they cope with the adjustments and reclamation to civilian life. In addition, SFW aims to help veterans and families of veterans with job placement, and career advancement using the skills they gained while serving our country. To date, the program has helped soldiers with various hunting and fishing excursions in Utah, and the Intermountain West.