A group of wounded veterans recently participated in a special bear hunt in Pendleton and Hardy counties over a three-day period, Sept. 26-28. The nine hunters, seven of whom are from West Virginia, were part of the Wounded Warrior program, organized for the second year by the Potomac Highlands Wounded Warrior Outreach Program.
Participants included Jack Cormac of Letter Gap in Gilmer County; Jerry Flynn of Eleanor in Putnam County; David Rheuark of Petroleum in Ritchie County; Paul Harman of Charles Town in Jefferson County; Tony Smith of Smithfield in Wetzel County; James McCormick of New Haven in Mason County; Gary Sawyers of Daniels in Raleigh County; Robert Behrendt, Erie, Pa.; and Steve Wesley of Lorton, Va.
“The Potomac Highlands Wounded Warrior Outreach Program, working with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and with the support of the local community, especially the land owners and local bear hunters, was able to take nine of our bravest wounded warriors into the mountains to experience the thrill of hunting black bears,” said Bill Armstrong, president and organizer of the Potomac Highlands Wounded Warrior Outreach Program. “Through those efforts, seven of our hunters were able to harvest a great trophy and go away with memories that we hope help to overshadow the pain their wartime injuries have caused them and their families.”
Two of the biggest bears weighed in at 420 and 350 pounds. To show their support for the Warriors, 150 local residents turned out to help celebrate the last evening of the hunt.
“For the second year in a row, West Virginia was able to express our state’s gratitude to our service men and women by hosting a group of Wounded Warriors on a bear hunt,” said WVDNR Director Frank Jezioro. “We at the West Virginia DNR are proud to take part in this wonderful program and look forward to continued participation in the future. “
Later this month the organization will take a group of wheelchair-bound wounded warriors from Walter Reed Hospital to bow hunt deer. For additional information, please call 304-358-2525.