The weekend of March 4 – 6, 2016, boasted beautiful weather and excellent hunting conditions. Bethel Ranch in north Texas provided the perfect location for a successful Upland Game Bird Hunt for Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SDIA) and sponsored participants Officer Zach McArthur, SSgt Jose Sanchez, Sgt Sheri Carter, Officer Charles Neill, Sgt. Chris Heenan, Cpl. Michael Williams, and Cpl. Kevin Lemmon.
This was the second sponsored game bird hunt for SDIA. Each year they take combat wounded veterans and first responders injured in the line of duty on hunts, including hog hunting in northwest Texas. SgtMaj Lance Nutt, SDIA’s founder and president, enjoys the opportunity to give sponsored Sheep Dogs an all-expenses paid trip and time away. Nutt explained, “Our Hunting Trips give fellow Sheep Dogs something to focus on, which leads to a more positive mental state, as well as the confidence to know they can continue making a difference.”
For Officer Neill, the Spring Hunt provided much needed camaraderie and peer support. In May 2015, while Neill was involved in a high-speed chase, he was shot at over 300 times and was struck in the head. His patrol car crashed at 110mph, rolled 14 times and burst into flames. He survived the crash, but suffers from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), nerve damage and other injuries. For many months, Neill was inactive except for his treatment.
“For the first time since [my injury], I had the opportunity to speak with another individual that has TBI,” said Neill. “I have not been able to talk with anyone that understands the pain and problems which I have had and will continue to deal with as time goes by. SDIA is a resource which has pulled me off the couch after 7 months of inactivity, and has started me on the road to physical and mental healing.”
Hunt participants and SDIA offer their heartfelt thanks to Larry Norrell and Bobby Norrell for donating the weekend at Bethel Ranch and their generous hospitality. Special thanks also goes to American Weather Star of Mobile, Alabama, for sponsoring the hunt.
To view photos from this incredible weekend, visit our Facebook Album.