Opening day…30 minutes…three turkeys
Tampa FL – -(Ammoland.com)- Three military veterans experienced the thrill of turkey hunting for the first time at the Hilliard Brothers Ranch in Clewiston on Florida’s 2016 opening day of the spring turkey season.
With the help of Mossy Oak’s Turkey Thugs hunting pros, and with Mossy Oak’s television video cameras rolling, the rookie hunters scored three for three…in the first 30 minutes of the season.
Eric Engelhardt, Garrett Cathcart and Drew Smith, all members and leaders of Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB) (www.teamrwb.org)–one of the country’s fastest growing Veterans Service Organizations with over 100,000 members—were invited on the hunt by the Mossy Oak Turkey Thugs crew, as a continuing theme in recognizing America’s military veterans and their service.
Mossy Oak’s Senior Vice President of Media Services, Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland said, “Mossy Oak has always been an ‘all inclusive’ brand, it’s the people that make all of this work– customers, outdoorsman, employee’s, etc. At the top of that list has to be veterans who without their sacrifice and commitment none of what we do and love would be possible. There are many outdoor industry companies that reach out to veterans, we are one of many and need to do more…but sharing hunting camp with these great people and then showing that to viewers will hopefully keep these great heroes on our mind and in our prayers.”
Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
Traditionally that included running, functional fitness, yoga and other physical activities as well as socials to build community among America’s veterans and the civilian members of Team RWB.
Working with Col. Lew Deal (USMC, ret.), a highly respected advocate and activist for involving injured and wounded veterans in the outdoors, Team RWB is exploring hunting and other traditional outdoor activities as additional avenues that can have positive effects on its members.
Eric Engelhardt, operations manager for Team RWB exclaimed, “When the best turkey hunters in the world invite you, it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Team RWB sent the members or “Eagles” to experience turkey hunting for themselves. (more…)
The hunt was more successful than any of the participants could have imagined. The veterans, with the expert help of Turkey THUGs Bubba Bruce, Keith Kelly and Mossy Oak Field producers, Jordan “Big Country” Blissett and Joe White, all tagged out on Osceola turkeys before 7:00 am on opening morning.
Team RWB and the Mossy Oak crew expressed their sincere gratitude to Jim Handley, Executive VP, and The Florida Cattleman’s Association (www.floridacattlemen.org) for hosting the hunt.
Engelhardt served as a Special Forces soldier in Afghanistan before he was critically wounded in an improvised explosive device attack. After six months at Walter Reed and another year in recovery learning to walk again, he is thriving.
The Army-trained sniper joked, “I better not miss with a shotgun on TV.”
The Minnesota native who has a little hunting experience explained why the weekend with the Turkey THUGs meant so much, “There’s a gap most veterans feel once they leave the military. That feeling of brotherhood that can rarely be achieved in our daily lives. Out here in the hunting camp though—the stories, laughter, shared experiences, and trash talking made us feel like members of a team again. It was pretty incredible.”
Team RWB Southeast Regional Director, Garrett Cathcart, served as a cavalry scout in both Iraq and Afghanistan, shot the first turkey of the season with Bubba and Joe.
Cathcart, admittedly a city boy with no hunting experience, was not exactly dressed for the occasion. Goading him, field producer “Big Country” asked if he was going to wear penny loafers in the woods. It wasn’t long, however, before Garrett, Eric and Drew, a current Special Forces soldier with many deployments, were all outfitted in Mossy Oak Obsession camo, courtesy of Mossy Oak.
“I didn’t know what to expect to be honest,” said Garrett. “I get it now. The camaraderie, the community and shared sense of purpose…it’s what I miss about the Army. It felt like I was home out there. I can’t thank Mossy Oak or the Turkey Thugs enough. I’m definitely doing this again.”
Drew Smith rediscovered the outdoors, “I grew up hunting and fishing in Pennsylvania but since joining the Army over a decade ago I have not been able to get out in the woods. This opportunity reminded me of why I love the outdoors, reinvigorating me to make hunting a priority again.”
Summarizing the feelings on the Turkey Thugs pro hunters, Bubba Bruce said, “I was blessed to share camp with this group of elite warriors!! Thanks for your service and memories!!”
The amazing hunt for these deserving veterans, who learned what hunting means to millions of sportsmen and –women will be aired on the Mossy Oak Turkey Thugs program in July 2017 on the Pursuit network.
For more information on Team Red, White and Blue, and how to get involved, contact: Garrett Cathcart, Atlanta Community Captain, Team RWB Southeast Regional Director; 845.661.4498; [email protected]
About Team Red, White & Blue
Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2010 with the mission of enriching the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity. Team RWB has over 100,000 members spread across 172 chapters and communities located throughout the world. To learn more about Team RWB and how you can help, visit www.teamrwb.org.