Thursday, November 14, 2013

Supporting Our Veterans

Veteran’s Day weekend is always a special time for those who’ve served. For those of us who are veterans it’s an important time to reflect and take a moment to enjoy the people and pursuits important to us. We must also pause and think of the veterans who never made it home. Montana is special when it comes to honoring its veterans. This is in large part due to the fact that there are more veterans per capita in Montana than any other state. Montanans have a strong sense of patriotism as well and go to extra lengths to honor the men and women who have placed their lives on the line for their country. For the fourth year in a row, a grassroots organization called Operation Valor took 8 veterans out east to hunt mule deer in the Missouri Breaks. Two vets are paired off with their own guide and head into the sage and juniper covered hills to hopefully place a stalk on a good buck. The hunters come from many backgrounds and branches of service. The goal of OV is to reach out to veterans and provide for them an experience that is both therapeutic and fun. In the span of four days these vets faced the gamut of November weather and took some respectable bucks as well and healthy does for the freezer. For the hunters who tagged out hordes of geese awaited in nearby fields. What is most special about these hunts Montanans put up for veterans is the camaraderie that develops between them over the course of the five days they are together. Every night after the hunt veterans return each with usually a good story to tell around the fireplace at the Ft. Peck Hotel. They leave with a treasury of new experiences and friends. Special thanks go out to Rudy Smith who organizes fundraising for OV as well as Carl Mann and his team of guides at Montana Experience Outfitters. Most of all thanks to our veterans past and present. To find out how you can do more to support this outstanding program visit

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