The good people of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, once again joined forces with Freedom Alliance to provide a tailored, all-exclusive hunt for a deserving group of service members.
This hunt was for quail, and six of our finest military came along for the fun on this sunny but cold weekend with Greg Quiel Hunting Clubs. Greg Quiel and Freedom Alliance have worked together for the past two years to provide quail, turkey, dove, duck, and deer hunts for our soldiers.
We were pleased to have disabled Air Force veteran Matt with us again. Matt’s steadily worsening back and hip injuries gave him some trouble, but he was nonetheless happy to spend a half day chasing bird dogs out in the field until his disability made it too difficult to participate. In spite of his injuries, Matt’s attended almost every Freedom Alliance/Greg Quiel event to date.
Another familiar face was welcomed to the hunt: Marine Corporal Jonathan. Jonathan stepped on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011, and we met him and his father shortly after the accident at Walter Reed. When invited to come along, he jumped at the chance to employ his new Browning shotgun, which he bought at a Freedom Alliance sporting clay event last June. Jonathan and his father also participated in a fishing expedition on Oregon’s Rogue River in October.
The other four attendants came from Second Battalion, Second Marines, an infantry regiment out of Camp Lejeune. Two of the men are only a month or two away from leaving again for the war, and collectively the four have eight deployments between them.
For the quail hunt, experienced hunters and their dogs escorted the troops in two teams, one out to a field on a farm and the other to a thinned pine tree forest. It was a bad day for the quail that chose a flight plan past these two sites. A young Marine radio operator, Cody, was ecstatic to shoot his first quail in his first-ever bird hunt.
For lunch, local volunteers and hunt club members provided hamburgers and hot dogs, sides, and sweets. During the meal, they made sure that each service member was personally thanked for doing their duty.
The troops enjoyed chatting with Mr. Massey, a Marine Corps veteran of Korea, who owned one track of land on which they had hunted. The other landowner, Mr. Short, makes custom knives on a century-old anvil in his woodshed, and he was also popular with the military men.
The Marines from Second couldn’t believe the outpouring of generosity and appreciation from the Roanoke Rapids community. “This is what I love doing – it’s my life, and I don’t get many opportunities to hunt,” said Staff Sergeant Colvin. “I’m tickled to death to be here!”
After the hunt, the troops gathered together for a substantial dinner at the local Texas Steakhouse, which took place in the dark due to an unexpected power outage. Despite the last drawback, it was a satisfying end to a rewarding day of sportsmanship and camaraderie.