Enduring Gratitude

 Not too long ago I had the privilege of spending the day with some the best and bravest that this country has to offer.

  I attended an event that is called Enduring Gratitude. This event is hosted at the Beaver pond Sporting club.


  I learned about this tribute to our troops from a guy at work that asked me if I like to shoot clay targets and if I like to shoot pheasants.

  I of course answered that both of those activities are some of my favorite things to do. He then proceeded to tell me about Enduring Gratitude. 

  So what is Enduring Gratitude. This is a Veterans appreciation event that has been an annual affair for the last 12 years. They host a large number of Veterans for half a day of Sporting Clays and a half day pheasant tower shoot. This is how the organization chooses to show their appreciation to Veterans of all generations.

  The organizers are all volunteers and there are no employees. This 501c3 organization was founded to give service members a memorable time outdoors as a way to say that your service and sacrifice is appreciated.

  A friend and I applied to attend and we were fortunate enough to be selected to attend. I was pretty excited to be able to take part. I don’t do a lot of Veterans events. Actually this is the first Veterans anything that I ever attended. I have nothing against these types of events,  I just feel that others deserve to do it more than me. There are guys and gals that have significant injuries and should be able to take advantage of these events. That being said, this one is right in my wheelhouse so I decided to take advantage of it.

  So the day arrives that we are to attend and it is cold and raining. I mean the type of cold where the stands on the sporting clays course were freezing so we had to stand next to them to shoot the station. No big deal but that three feet definitely changed the presentation of the targets. A little side note this is the first time that I have ever shot a proper sporting clays course. It was definitely challenging and I had a great time. 

   I shot pretty well I think. Some stations kicked my butt and some stations I looked like I knew what I was doing.

  So as we made our way through the muddy course the spirits of all in the group could not be dampened by the cold and wet weather. We all had fun shooting and giving each other a hard time for easy misses. It was a memorable first time on a clays course.

  After the round of clays we went back to the clubhouse to get lunch.

  Because of the way things are in the world right now, the meals were pre-packed and we were asked to eat outside so we can all spread out and follow the recommendations to keep each other safe.

  Lunch was barbecue pork and all the trimmings. It was fantastic. While we ate there were a couple of guest speakers and a raffle.

  After lunch it was our turn at the tower shoot. We took a short ride on a tractor pulled trailer from the lodge to the field.

   We found our peg and began the pheasant tower shoot. Anyone that has done one of these knows that the shooting can be slow at times and then it can get busy if the birds turn your way. So our first few stations were slow with the birds taking a route away from us.

  As we made our way around the field the activity picked up and we were able to get some shots at birds and put a few in the bag.   Being successful made standing in the rain in the muddy field more than worth it.

  At the end of the day we made our way back to the club house to pick up or birds. The birds were cleaned and packed in a cooler that was provided to us by Enduring Gratitude. While I am talking about what they provided, let me line it out real quick. 

  The organizers provided breakfast when you arrived, They gave you a goody bag that had an orange hat that we had to wear for safety, shooting glasses, ear plugs, a t shirt, a pair of hunting socks and a few koozies. While out on the course they provided all the ammunition and personnel to pull the targets and people driving buggies to take you from the last station to the first depending on where you started. Then you were given lunch and all the ammunition that you needed to conduct the tower shoot. The only thing that I had to bring was my gun and the clothes I needed to stay warm and dry.

  The cold and wet weather did not dampen the spirits of all in attendance; it just accentuated the story.

   I know that the organizers put this on as a way to express their appreciation of our military service.     However I am extremely grateful for them to have put in so much time and effort to make us all feel welcome and show us a fantastic day.

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