Editor’s Note: Lew Deal, retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Marine Corps, joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1975 and retired in 1999. In the Marines, Deal flew Cobra gunships and while on active duty, developed a passion for helping wounded veterans. Now he’s Mossy Oak’s representative and partner with the Paralyzed Veterans of America Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund (PVA-ORHF). This week, he’ll tell us about the purpose and mission of the PVA-ORHF, and some of the hunts they have partnered with Mossy Oak to sponsor.
We have a number of hunts at Quantico right now, because the United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment is there, and it’s close to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. It’s been very rewarding to see the outdoors accessibility we helped create at Quantico in the 1990s still being utilized today. Quantico even has a wheelchair-accessible duck blind. There are buffer areas where no one is supposed to enter. Some of them are near firing ranges. We have very-controlled access to these lands, so nobody bothers us or the veterans. It’s a safe area. We have permanent stands and Huntmasters with towers 21 feet in the air. Guides are available to help our hunters. Quantico sits on 58,000 acres of land, and these big buffer zones between firing lines and the outside world have plenty of game in them. So, there are thousands of acres the general public can’t hunt, but wounded veterans can hunt deer, ducks and turkeys there.
I never will forget the day I walked into General Steel’s office after sending him a proposal to create hunting areas for wounded veterans. I was really nervous. General Steel stood-up, walked around his desk, looked me square in the eyes and said, “We’ll make this happen.” We now have areas where veterans in wheelchairs and power chairs can hunt on their own. We have specially-built pontoon boats to take them out to a duck blind on the Potomac River that was donated and built by Ducks Unlimited. The duck blind isn’t far from shore, in an area where no one but our wounded veterans can hunt.
Our goal is to grow our PVA Outdoor Heritage Fund by working with companies like Mossy Oak, so we can make more areas accessible to our paralyzed veterans and their families as well as other servicemen and women who can enjoy recreational activities in the outdoors by hunting and fishing. The Paralyzed Veterans of America Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund is dedicated to the purpose of helping in the recovery of the men and women who have served in our armed forces and have been injured. All our hunters wear Mossy Oak Camouflage. Thanks to companies like Mossy Oak, we hope to ensure the Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund can continue to provide hunting opportunities for disabled veterans and their families long into the future.