Disabled Sportsmen of America making the dream a reality
By: Rob Somerville
My good friend Gil Lackey of Nashville sent me the info below about a very important effort in helping disabled sportsmen.
On the way home from a turkey hunt in 1991, Carl Brock had a tragic auto accident. His spinal cord was severed, and he would never walk again. Being confined to a wheelchair and unable to afford a crossbow made his dream of bowhunting again seem impossible. Last October, Disabled Sportsmen of America (DSA) made his 16-year wish become a reality.
Presenting Carl with a new Horton crossbow and taking him on a fantastic weekend deer hunt in Smith County was only part of the equation. Carl said, “It was just good to feel like part of a hunting group again and have that camaraderie. It was an opportunity to get out of the house and have some fellowship.”
Founded in East Tennessee five years ago by Todd Smelser, Disabled Sportsmen of America has been busy living up to its motto, “making the dream a reality, DSA-style.” Smelser said, “Disabled folks are some of the bravest people I’ve ever been around. They’re always looking for the next challenge.” Smelser and the staff at DSA use innovative strategies and adaptive equipment to meet those challenges.
Whether it’s hunting, fishing, camping, or rafting, DSA grants opportunities for those with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors. Just as there are no set rules in nature, DSA sets no criteria on a person’s limitations – illness, disability, or age.
DSA is a non-profit organization that is funded through sponsors and donations. Every penny goes directly to fund DSA events. Even office supplies are donated, and the volunteer staff work nights and weekends with no compensation. West Tennessee Chapter Coordinator Patrick Hallisy said, “I love helping people that have given up on going to the woods because of their disabilities. The look on their faces is enough for me. It’s just so gratifying.”
Several Tennessee fundraisers are scheduled for the coming year, including bass, archery, and skeet tournaments as well as marketing a wild game cookbook.
DSA is planning on following up disabled veteran Mark O’Brien’s Texas hog hunt last October with a Nova Scotia bear hunt for two lucky hunters next year. Until then, there will be several DSA outings closer to home.
Even though he didn’t bag a deer on his hunt, Carl will never forget the uplifting experience. He will always be grateful for his new friends at DSA. “DSA is not only for people with disabilities to get back into the woods, in the fields, or on the water. It’s also for sportsmen to come together to give a little bit of their time.”
If you would like to donate your time, the use of your land, fundraiser auction items, or equipment, please contact Events Coordinator Jackie Thomas at email@example.com. If you or someone you know has an illness or disability and would like to have an outdoor dream fulfilled, please visit the DSA website at www.disabledsportsmenofamerica.org for further assistance.
Women in the Outdoors
The fastest growing target market in the outdoors is … women. The good news is that there is now a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing and educating women about the positive lifestyle of hunting and fishing.
WomenHunters™ Inc. is a 501[c]4 Non-Profit Organiza-tion, approved by the Federal government and is organized as a non-profit corporation based in the State of South Carolina. WomenHunters™ will be accessible through both womenhunters.com and womenhunters.org.
WomenHunters™ fulfills its exempt status by promoting all women in all outdoor and hunting sports. While other organizations do promote women in outdoor and hunting sports, WomenHunters fills its own unique niche with its Internet presence, WomenHunters™ Club, Bulletin Board and other features.
WomenHunters™ compliments the efforts other similar organizations.
Sue Burch is the Executive Director. The appointment and election of officers and directors will follow formation. Officers and Directors must be members of the womenhunters.org group and nominations are now being accepted for these positions. An application will be available shortly.
As an Exempt Organization, WomenHunters™ will be able to receive tax-deductible donations, grants and sponsorships for it’s many programs and events, and to keep its web presence going. In the meantime, WomenHunters™ needs capital for it’s organizational costs and is looking for sponsor donations immediately to cover those costs.
Your donations qualify as tax-deductible advertising costs. Contact YOUR tax professional for proper handling with you particular circumstances.
If you would like to help support WomenHunters™ with a donation, or have further questions, contact WomenHunters™ today at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 475-2250.
Published in The Messenger 12.27.07