Duck Unlimited members understand the passion that defines waterfowl hunters, and DU volunteers in Virginia recently raised money and volunteered time to build some unusual duck blinds. These blinds were designed and constructed to offer wounded soldiers a wheelchair-accessible location to pursue their favorite pastime.
QUANTICO, Va. – Jan. 28, 2009 – A dedication ceremony took place Saturday, Jan. 24, for two blinds built for use by the Wounded Warrior regiment at Quantico, Va. Volunteers from both Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Marine Corps joined with a general and a congressman to salute returning soldiers with injuries, and to provide them with an opportunity to continue the hunting they had enjoyed before sustaining those injuries while fighting for our country.
The base at Quantico is a prime destination for waterfowl, and officials there have been working with conservation groups like DU to enhance and expand habitat. It was during one such discussion that the idea arose to provide special wheelchair-accessible hunting blinds. The blinds have wide entries, space enough for two wheelchairs and a lower opening for seated hunters.
Congressman Rob Wittman was responsible for calling the ducks at the hunt that occurred before the dedication. Unfortunately, they didn't respond. "Which obviously shows that nobody listens to a politician," the congressman joked. Rep. Wittman hunted with Lt. Gen. George Flynn, commander, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, and wounded warrior Sgt. Keith Buckmon.
Buckmon may not have shot any ducks during that hunt, but the experience was a good one, and he looks forward to hunting at Quantico again in the future.
As is always true, these good works came at a price, which was significantly defrayed by Hank Miller, Hub Mahanes and Virginia DU volunteers who put together a fund raiser to help cover the project's cost. The Wounded Warrior fund-raising event was hosted at Old Town Farm on the Pamunkey River. The event raised 60 percent of the total project cost. Several generous companies donated and/or provided discounts on supplies and building materials for the project, significantly decreasing the cost to Ducks Unlimited.
A third blind will be built as part of the project. These sites will add more recreation options for wounded warriors at Quantico, and help ensure that their passionate pursuit of waterfowl will not be added to the list of sacrifices they have made for their country.
More on the Quantico Wounded Warriors Project