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Operation Pay It Forward
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Posted By: WHC Admin
05/28/2015 5:37 pm
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The WHC would like to proudly announce our involvement in Operation Pay It Forward with Eric Pauly of Team One Shot. Please take a moment to read the following post and help Eric & Team One Shot make this Dream Hunt a reality for SSG Michael Burns

                                           “With great sacrifice comes great satisfaction!” 

The Goal

Originally, the goal was to find a disabled combat veteran with a love of the outdoors and return him to his love – permanently.  Many organizations provide hunts for veterans and it can be an incredible experience for those veterans.  What, though, do they do after the hunt ends and they find themselves back on the couch – their unoccupied minds reverting back to dark places and the horrors that accompany war.  I’m not interested giving a veteran a 4 day high, followed by regression.  I want to provide a goal that aligns with his passion.  I want to help him see a process and a path to return to his passion and live the life he deserves to live.  Through hard work, commitment and support, he will once again be allowed to feel the sense of satisfaction that can only be realized by extreme effort – a feeling I believe that no veteran should be deprived of. As I became exposed to the great need for helping our returning vets and the difficulty I encountered with finding and connecting with the right soldier, I began wondering how much difference was I really making.  Changing one veteran’s life is great, but was there a way I could help impact others as well.

I often work 60 -70 hours a week and struggle constantly with balancing my time between family, work and my passion.  My family and I are willing to sacrifice time to make this happen, but I know that I cannot do this each year.  So was born part two of my goal – to document and make available to all a process where others could replicate what I am doing.  I was overwhelmed at the amount of support I was offered early on in this project.  I began to wonder, “If all of these individuals are so willing to donate time and money, why don’t they just find a veteran themselves and do what I am doing?”  The answer lies in the process.  I found that the drive and the resources were there, they just didn’t have a process to follow.  They didn’t know how to start or who to reach out to for help.  I am figuring this process out as I go and making every attempt to record and document what works well for me, so that I can share with others.

Veterans organizations do a lot of good, but psychologically, I feel the connection made between individuals sharing their passion is something that is tough to duplicate.  As non-profit organizations grow, they become less nimble, they become more locked in to specific programs, processes or sponsors.  It is hard to provide what an individual may need, if you are treating the masses.  I believe that if I can document a process that others can follow on their own, the reach and benefit will be so much greater than what an organization can do within the constraints of their structure. 

Background

 About 2 years ago, I was selected to host an episode of Huntley Ritter’s Limited Draw television show.  Having a professional camera crew and production team portray my passion for hunting and share it with millions of Americans was an experience that was incredibly humbling.  After the hunt, I was reflecting on how fortunate I was to be able to enjoy my passion and how horrible it would be if something happened to me and I was no longer to live my passion and pass it on to my children. Experiencing an accident that ends one’s passion is unfortunate to say the least, but to knowingly enlist to put yourself in harm’s way and fight for your country and countrymen – and then become disabled from injuries sustained in battle – t o me is tragedy.  It’s a tragedy that I wasn’t willing to allow if I could help it. To that end I have been trying to come up with a way to give back to my brothers that gave more than was required of me. I have a true passion for hunting that I can explain no other way than that it is in my DNA. My father was a hunter, but I never knew him. He drown when I was 2 years old and I have no recollection of him. The passion comes from somewhere inside me and I know there are others like me out there. Those that had that same passion, but feel they can no longer fulfill it, because they were not as lucky as I and paid a much heavier price for their service. Those that used to roam the mountains and backcountry with a rifle or bow, but are now left physically disabled from injuries sustained from their service. I try to think how I would feel if I could no longer do what I love and how depressing it would be to feel that my physical limitations are keeping me from what I love. Long story short, for the past year I’ve been working on setting up a hunt for a selected disabled veteran. Not a canned hunt that starts with a pity party just before the corn feeder goes off and the hunter shoots from the back of a pickup - but rather a real western hunt for someone that was used to hiking hard all day and leaving it all out on the mountain.  I am not looking to pity or patronize this wounded vet. These guys are some of the most hard core individuals on the planet.  I want him to have to work for it and realize that with a little assistance and creativity he can relive this dream every hunting season. With great sacrifice comes great satisfaction. 

The Process

My Outlander’s TV episode aired in April of 2014 along with several other episodes featuring other hunters.  At the end of the season, Outlanders TV held an on line vote in which there was unlimited voting for the viewers’ favorite show.  There was a prize package of a rifle, gear and a guided hunt that I planned to donate to the veteran I selected for my hunt.  In the end, I did not win, but long before I knew the results of the voting, I committed myself to making this happen by any means necessary. I have had numerous commitments from like-minded sportsmen as well as good all-around American human beings.  From friends, to fellow veterans, to other veteran organization, to just plain strangers – I was humbled at the amount of people willing to help me help our veterans. Next, I utilized social media and the exposure provided from the Outlanders TV episode to get the word out for recommendations for a veteran candidate.  I put together the criteria I felt would make this hunt most impactful and started the search.  I assumed I would be inundated with candidates that met my criteria and I would be torn between selecting from multiple qualified deserving veterans.  I was shocked when I received very few recommendations or referrals.  Everyone offered to help, but no one could point me to a wounded warrior that would truly benefit from what I was trying to do.  My search led me to a dark place as I spoke with numerous VA officials, VA hospital workers, VA recreational specialists.  I found that those that truly needed the lifestyle change I was trying to offer, were too depressed or mentally crippled to ask for help or to want to try.  The task suddenly became more daunting. 

The Warrior

After reaching out to at least a dozen veteran organizations, chasing lead after lead through the VA system, speaking with state social workers and searching the internet endlessly, it was the help of a fellow sportsman on social media that found a small online article on a veteran that had just experienced an above knee leg amputation and was in the field less than a month later on a turkey hunt. I reached out to the editor of the online article and he connected me with Robyn Burns.  Robyn’s husband was a mortgage broker with four children making a good living and enjoying the American lifestyle.  Then, they brought the fight to our shores.  As he watched the twin towers fall, he was determined to bring the fight to those that threatened his country and family.  He enlisted at the age of 32 and was sent to Iraq to fight.  He wanted to do his part – which by all reasoning, he accomplished after his first tour.  His original intent was to do a tour and then get out, but the commitment he felt to his fellow brothers in arms kept him from leaving.  On his 3rd tour to Iraq, he was struck by shrapnel from a mortar round that caused severe damage to his left leg.  He left the Army on disability and tried for the following 10 years to save his leg.  Eight surgeries, constant pain and bound to a wheelchair – he struggled to regain his life.  February of this year, he made the decision to amputate and take the challenge of relearning his life with a bionic leg. After speaking with SSG Michael Burns for the first time, I knew he was the perfect candidate for this hunt.  He is determined to set goals and beat the odds to regain his life and restore the father and husband that his wife and children were deprived of for so long.  It has been less than 2 months since his surgery and he has committed to run a 5k color run with his daughter in June.  Even while he is still trying to figure out how to negotiate stairs, he is committed to accomplishing this goal.  When I told him what my two main goals were for this hunt, he was ecstatic, humbled and willing to help – all at once.  He serves as a mentor to other returning vets as well as amputees of all kinds.  His Facebook page, “It’s Not About Me,” pretty much sums up his outlook (https://www.facebook.com/amputationdidntstopme?fref=ts). Together, I believe with the help of willing sponsors and individuals, SSG Burns and I can make a real difference in his life, the life of his family and the life of many more veterans in need.

Help

If you feel like you can help, please reach out to me at the contact information below.  My goal is to get SSG Burns fully outfitted so that he can not only enjoy this hunt, but enjoy hunting every season and be able to teach his children and help them be part of the passion we share!  Some of the items I would like to get early so that he can start training for his hunt. 

To make a monetary donation towards these expenses, go to http://www.fieldofdreamsinc.org, click on the “Donate” button, enter the amount you wish to donate and then make sure you enter “SSG Burns” in the tribute box.  You can also enter in the comments section, “SSG Michael Burns Mule Deer Hunt” to insure Mike benefits from your donation.  You will receive a donation receipt back via email for tax purposes.

Although the intent is not to make this a sponsor driven event with an advertising focus, we want to recognize those companies and individuals that go out of their way to support our returning warriors.  There will be a film produced and hosted on the World Hunting Club website (among others) in which we will thank our sponsors.  An additional recognition with company logos will be placed on the aforementioned web page as well.

Donation Items:  Money or Frequent Flier Miles for Plane Ticket  |  Money for Personal Trainer  |  Money for Travel Expenses  |  Money for Non Resident License and Tag  |  Quality Hunting Clothing and Gear  |  Rifle and Optics Appropriate for Western Big Game   |  Ammunition for Practicing and Hunting  | Quality Hunting Pack  |  Hunting Boots  |  Range Finder  |  Binoculars  |  Lightweight Sleeping Bag  |  Lightweight Camp Stove and Cooking Gear  |  Lightweight Tent  |  Hunting Knives and Game Care  |  Film and Production Crew to Document and Share this Experience  |  ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT FROM ALL!

 


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Reply By: Jaded-Arrow
05/28/2015 8:23 pm

Awesome guys. Simply awesome. 

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Reply By: cosswald
05/29/2015 6:11 am

I'll see what I can contribute!!

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Reply By: MAX6
05/29/2015 1:36 pm

Is whc going to film this or are you looking for another crew?

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Reply By: PaulyHunts
06/02/2015 11:33 am

Max6, WHC will be filming and will be hosting the film here after the hunt.  I really want to make this something that is duplicatable so that others can do what I'm doing, and with WHC's help, we can document the process!

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Reply By: mrbusybusy
05/29/2015 2:37 pm

Sounds like a worthy cause, glad to see WHC involved!

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Reply By: PaulyHunts
06/02/2015 11:57 am

Thanks for the encouragement, guys!  We have received help thus far from Wilderness Athlete, Vortex Optics, BadAss Outdoor gear, Hooper Taxidermy, #TeamOneShot, WHC, Triple A Sporting Goods and dozens of individuals wanting to show support for one of our wounded veterans and help get him back in the field.

We still need cash donations for travel, tags, meat processing, shipping and all the small items that aren't readily donated.  I have set up an account through a non profit organization called Field of Dreams.  This will allow the money to used with out tax implications for the veteran as well as issue a donation receipt for those generous donors.

Here is how to donate:

Go to  http://fieldofdreamsinc.org/donate/

Where it says Is this in honor or memory of someone? Click YES

In the box where it says Tribute gift to type in SSG Michael Burns Mule Deer Hunt

Then fill in your donation amount and your information to receive your receipt and pay with your cc or through pay pal!

We really appreciate the help!  Mike is one of the most determined, yet humble, guys I have ever met and it will be an incredible thing to give this wounded warrior back his passion of hunting and the outdoors!

If any has any questions or comments, reply here or feel free to call me at 801-633-0189!

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Reply By: etammik
06/02/2015 3:01 pm

Great cause we are proud to be a part of.. many updates to follow please stay tuned and help us spread the word!

 

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Reply By: hondo
06/05/2015 12:34 pm
we are jacked up about this. thank you everyone for your support
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Reply By: reddogarchery
06/09/2015 4:48 am
great job guys
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Reply By: PaulyHunts
06/15/2015 4:33 pm

Any WHC hunters know anyone or company that may be willing to donate or discount a tent for SSG Burns?  I'm trying to get him a quality (wall tent or similar) tent that he can use on this and all his future hunts.  He has a family of 6 and needs to be able put cots in it so he has something to sit on while adjusting his prosthetic.  You can respond here or email me directly at espauly@yahoo.com

Thanks!

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Reply By: PaulyHunts
06/18/2015 10:55 am
Just got a brand new 6 person wall tent donated! Thank you Mr. Mike Vanderhoof!
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Reply By: etammik
06/18/2015 11:24 am

Nice, yes thank you Mr. Vanderhoff and everyone else that has donated!

 

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Reply By: MadDogNick
07/19/2015 11:05 pm

Are donations still on or is this a done deal?

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Reply By: WHC Admin
07/21/2015 11:52 am

You can still donate HERE at Field Of Dreams website: Where it says Is this in honor or memory of someone? Click YES.  In the box where it says (Tribute gift to) type in: SSG Michael Burns Mule Deer Hunt.. Field of Dreams is a 501C3 non-profit Corporation. All donations are tax deductible and your receipt will include the Tax ID number. Check donations can be made out to Field of Dreams Inc. and mailed to the following address: P.O. Box 217 Colusa, CA 95932 

The hunt is scheduled for mid-October 2015.  Every penny you donate will go directly to SSG Michael burns. Neither The WHC or Field of Dreams will take a penny out of your donation, unlike many other "charities" these days. Thanks for supporting our Veterans!

 

 

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Reply By: etammik
07/22/2015 1:16 pm

Update!The WHC is very proud to be part of Operation Pay It Forward! Here is SSG Michael Burns at the range with his new Kimber 8400 in .300 Win Mag.

 

Well SSG Michael Burns finally got his Sunshine out to the range! (Sunshine on his shoulder makes him happy.) He was able to track down the scope base last week and finally got to put this sweet package together and take her out for a first date. Mike reports that this courtship will be a long one and he can't wait to take her to the big dance in Idaho this October!

 

This is what it is all about folks! Giving back to those that have already paid their dues and more!

 

Special thanks again to ‪#‎TripleASportingGoods‬, ‪#‎VortexOptics‬, ‪#‎federalpremium‬ and ‪#‎HeartOfTexasGuns‬ for donating the gear and supplies to get Mike back at the range! Also just want to say thanks again to Michael Pattillo, Steve McIntosh and Hondo Henderson for helping me track down these incredible sponsors!

 

More shout outs to come this week!

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Reply By: Jaded-Arrow
07/22/2015 1:20 pm

Any new updates on this hunt?

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Reply By: reddogarchery
07/28/2015 5:49 am
This hunt is fast approaching it is going to be epic
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Reply By: WHC Admin
08/10/2015 10:57 pm

This is the 627aad;">‪#‎OPERATIONPAYITFORWARD‬ mule deer hunt prequel. Eric and Michael were in south Texas laying the smack down on some hogs. October is fast approaching!

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Reply By: WHC Admin
10/01/2015 7:46 pm

Well Folks the time is nearly here Operation Pay It Forward is a go. The crew will be meeting in Utah early next week, then off to Idaho for the Hunt on the 9th. Much more to come stay tuned!

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Reply By: Jim-Shockey
10/04/2015 4:34 pm

This is great venture you all have going. We are all looking forward to many more years of your service and footage

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Reply By: etammik
10/04/2015 6:13 pm

Thank you, We are extremely proud to give back to our troops and we hope this will be the start of very fruitful grassroots movement that we can share with many more deserving vets!

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Reply By: MAX6
10/05/2015 12:10 pm

HOLY CRUD! No way am I chatting with JIM SHOCKEY! YOU ARE THE MAN! LOL!

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Reply By: Hunter
10/05/2015 8:54 pm

It truly is an epic venture. Many more to come I'm sure!

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Reply By: mrbusybusy
10/06/2015 11:42 pm
You crack me up MAX.
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Reply By: WHC Admin
10/06/2015 10:07 am

In my haste to fix the text sizing on the logo i missed the typo.. fixed it sry guys!

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Reply By: cosswald
10/07/2015 6:04 am

Due to our amazing brains, most of us read it correctly even though ot was wrong!!!

That's my story & I'm sticking to it!!

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