Created: 05/09/2014 6:27 PM KAALtv.com
By: Steph Crock
(ABC 6 News) -- The ‘Seventh Annual Turkey Hunt’ is back for veterans and disabled veterans and only twelve lucky soldiers have been selected to participate. They all met at the Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch in Stewartville Thursday but the turkey hunting started bright and early Friday morning.
When you head out into the fields, you won't hear much chatter, just the sounds of some serious turkey hunters trying to lure in their game, but going out there, or just hanging out at the Ironwood Ranch, is a great bonding experience for these hunters. Many of them are just meeting for the first time, but they all have something in common. "I understand that there are only 12 people that are picked for this so I consider myself awful lucky," said Frank Hach a 30 year service member.
They're all veterans, many of whom, were injured in combat. "It started in Afghanistan and I took a major one in Iraq," said disabled veteran Tom Hopkins. "I've been too close to a few explosions, air force missed once, gave me my first brain injury,” he said.
Hopkins was injured a third time when he was hit in the head with a machine gun barrel, causing him to lose him memory. Even so, he says it’s places like this that help him heal. "I have better healing than any of the PTSD courses I've taking through the VA," he said.
Hopkins says he's grateful for opportunities like these. "Without them, I'd probably still be in my wheelchair and very down on my life right now," he said.
The hunt is still going on as we speak and will continue into Saturday. They’ve shot two turkeys so far, but of course, it's much more than just shooting game.