Giving Wounded Soldiers A Chance To Hunt

Deer hunting designed for wounded soldiers

Newberry, SC (WLTX) - In war, a soldier must endure more than seems possible.  
 
When they return, some of their wounds are visible, some are not. 
 
For many who lost a limb to war they feel they have lost the ability to do so much.  
 
Some feel that those outdoor sports and hobbies they loved are something that is lost too, something that won't ever be a part of their lives again.
 
That is why the Freedom and Hope Foundation provides a place where wounded soldiers have the accessibility to get back into the activities they loved.
 
"Looks like about... 20 - 25 yards," whispered Robert Barber, a veteran amputee.
 
Barber has not been deer hunting for long, but he is not just in it for the "game" - he is happy to play. 
 
"It just excites these guys that they can go up in a tree again," said Terry Cotney, the executive director for the Freedom and Hope Foundation Lodge.
 
Cotney created the lodge that hosts wounded soldiers from all over the country. It is free for the families to stay overnight, because he says he prayed to have a place where these soldiers could go to take their mind off of their troubles.
 
"I said, 'God, please give me a place I can build for my heroes, they have sacrificed so much,'" Cotney said.
 
For some, that sacrifice was more than just leaving home.
 
"When I see our soldiers that are amputees or paralyzed, I want them to have the same thing others have in life," Cotney said.
 
So with the track chairs, a hydraulic lift, and 10 handicap ramp stands, these wounded heroes can get back into the tree line.
 
"It's really tough to deal with when you're laying in the hospital beds, you don't know how good you're going to recover," Barber said.
 
Recovery was almost out of the question for Barber after his company was attacked by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
 
"The surgeon told me that I was dead," Barber said, "there was no beat, they actually had to do a heart massage."
 
For the freedom these sacrifices give us, Cotney says he just wants to give something back.
 
"People that have been avid hunters or fishermen or golfers through the years and they lose limbs I think they think  their life is over," Cotney said. "To give them something they never dreamed they could do again, I can't express the feeling on that."
 
The Freedom of Hope Foundation is run entirely by volunteers. If you would like to donate to the foundation, you can find the information here


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