SANTA YSABEL, Calif. -- The San Diego chapter of Safari Club International (SCI), in cooperation with the Armed Services YMCA, hosted a hunting and fishing training event for wounded, ill and injured service members from Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) at Lake Henshaw Resort, Feb. 23.
The excursion provided an opportunity for participants to engage in mutually-enjoyable activities, foster camaraderie and teamwork, and also allowed veterans of yesterday and today to meet and share their military experiences.
The NMCSD Armed Services YMCA provided transportation for the wounded warriors to the scenic countryside surrounding Lake Henshaw Resort. Upon their arrival, participants and their guests were able to fish in the resort’s lake for bass, bluegill, catfish and crappie, or receive firearm safety training by experienced firearm volunteers.
After firearm and range safety briefs, the shooters began proficiency training with shotguns, ammunition and equipment provided by the volunteers. Once game-bird hunting procedures were reviewed, and participants had demonstrated firearm proficiency, preparations were made for field training. Donated game pheasants were planted in the field and the wounded warriors engaged their teamwork skills, as trained hunting dogs located and flushed out the birds.
Leif Olsen, a member of the board of directors for the San Diego chapter of SCI, assisted in organizing the hunting and fishing event. He shared his thoughts on giving back to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, in providing some much-needed recreation.
“Most of the volunteers are veterans who want to show their appreciation for today's service members,” said Olsen. “It is a privilege to share our love for the outdoors and see all the smiles of these young men and women having a great day.”
In addition to donating their time, local country clubs, hunting groups and the State of California Department of Fish and Game provided all necessary items for the excursion, from firearm and safety training, to hunting dogs, shotgun shells, traps and reduced-cost hunting licenses.
The Armed Services YMCA, officially established and recognized by the Department of Defense, has been helping veterans since 1861.
For more information on Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd, www.facebook.com/nmcsd, or www.twitter.com/NMC_SD.