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Veterans go hunting
Operation Second Chance completed its seventh year of Montana Retreats and its first hunting trip with four Wounded Warrior amputees from Walter Reed National Medical Center. Montana’s legislature unanimously passed SB 75 sponsored by Sen. Jason Priest that allowed Montana residents to purchase hunting licenses and return them to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) to be reissued to Purple Heart wounded warriors. This was the first year for the program and it was a great success. Operation Second Chance, with support from the Absarokee Community Foundation, Great Clips and MFWP conducted a five-day hunt in the Stillwater and Carbon County area. Thanks to the Heyneman family and Bill and Janice Mytton, the young wounded warriors were housed at the Torgrimson Place on the Bench Ranch and the guest house at the Burradoo Ranch. The soldiers also enjoyed a wonderful evening and delicious dinner hosted by Jack and Pat Ross. Ranchers in the Fishtail area made this a once in a lifetime trip for these young soldiers by opening up areas that are not often hunted. Susan Heyneman and family of the Bench Ranch, Olaf Sherwood, as well as Doug Robinette, Morgan Robinette and Chris Greb on the Flying C Ranch gave the Wounded Warriors access to special hunting and were great hosts. All bordering landowners were informed of the hunt and were very cooperative, some even offering their land for future hunts. This was a very first hunt for one of our Wounded Warriors, Adam Devine from Dixon, Ill. Adam is a great Marine and an above the knee double amputee who lost his legs in January of this year in a battle in Afghanistan. The first morning with guides Jake Heyneman and Bill George, Devine brought down a 5 x 5 bull elk at 330 yards. He struggled to walk 75 yards up hill to make the perfect shot. Devine didn’t let his Army buddies forget that he got the only elk of the hunt and also had the longest shot. Our other heroes for the week were Seth Nieman, a Green Beret originally from N. D.; Chris Hemwall from Rockville, Md.; and Rex Thorp from North Manchester, Ind. Each of the Wounded Warriors harvested a trophy mule deer buck that will be mounted as a reminder of their first Montana hunt. Our Operation Second Chance retreats wouldn’t be successful without support from our great communities and businesses. An example of our special part of the world took place at the Whispering Pines store in Red Lodge. A couple of our young heroes were shopping for gifts to take home to their wives and asked if the store had a military discount. When they went to check out, the cashier gave them a significant discount, which they questioned as it was much more than the usual 10% discount. The cashier replied that these heroes had indeed given considerably more than 10% to their country. Operation Second Chance and the Absarokee Community Foundation want to make this an annual event to continue to support our Wounded Warriors and show how much we appreciate what they have sacrificed for our country and our freedom. If you want to know more about Operation Second Chance and Montana Wounded Warrior retreats visit the website at www.operationsecondchance.org or contact Hank Tuell, Operation Second Chance, PO Box 1631, Red Lodge, MT 59806 or call at 406-425-4875.