Veterans find healing with Freedom Hunters
ONANCOCK, Va. – “I just enjoy being outside,” said Billy Marshall, a veteran from Tennessee.
“Basically being alone with your thoughts,” said Marshall.
For veterans, deer hunting has become a gateway to healing.
“A lot of these guys come off of the battlefield and have really transitioned home, and it’s a very slow process,” said Freedom Hunters Regional Director, Tom Deoudes.
On Sunday, these men and women suited up, grabbed their guns and started a new trek across the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
“A lot of these places are a lot different than the battlefields they’ve been on, and it gives them time to sit out there and just relax,” said Deoudes.
“For me, it’s about the challenge,” said Chris Davis, a veteran from Virginia.
“It’s about the challenge of getting up and putting in the work, getting in the cold,” said Davis.
The hunt is led by Freedom Hunters, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and supporting veterans around the country.
“It gives me a chance to actually get outdoors,” said Marshall.
“I’m missing a leg and an arm and you don’t get many opportunities to actually get out of the house for a while,” said Marshall.
Organizers say hunting gives these veterans a chance to reconnect with themselves and lift their spirits.
“I don’t feel worthy of the treatment, but I a hundred percent appreciate it, and I appreciate that there are people out there like Dan and Tom who are looking out for veterans,” said Davis.
Some of these veterans came all the way from places like Tennessee and other parts of Virginia on Sunday for their deer hunting.
The non-profit organization Freedom Hunters also serves active service members and their families.