WOUNDED WARRIORS GUESTS AT HUNT CLUB – The only Wounded Warrior who had no previous deer hunting experience was Ismael Alvarez, from Belton, (also called “Gator,” since he was driving a John Deer Gator in Afghanistan that was destroyed by a road side bomb), took the only deer during the morning hunt Saturday, Nov. 17, at KAMO Adventures. His fellow Wounded Warriors enjoying the weekend of cigar smoking at the picnic tables the first evening along with ribeye night, prime rib night Saturday and, oh, yes, deer hunting, were (from left) Mike Davis, Dave Green, Gator Alvarez and James Wilson.
Nobody talked about how the four Wounded Warriors earned that title.
They were glad to tell you their names and where and how long they served their nation. Only some of the nicknames had explanations:
“Gator” (Ismael Alvarez) from Belton served two tours in Afghanistan in his seven years in the Army. Mike Davis, Lee’s Summit, served a tour in Iraq in his 15 years in the Marines and Army. James “Extra Crispy” Wilson, from Crystal Lake, MO (named “Extra Crispy” due to severe burns suffered in a road side bomb) had two tours in Iraq in his 10 years in the Army. Dave (Doc) Green, a combat medic from Miami, OK, was in the Army 13 years.
This is the second year that four Wounded Warriors were invited to hunt the second weekend of Missouri Firearms deer season.
Five years ago the group got together because Wes had advertised Spinks Ranch on the internet as a hunting lease. Stephen Johnson, Joe Cushman, Josh Nelson and Bill Eckert, all from the Greater Kansas City area, responded to the ad. They initially set up Horse Creek Hunt Club LLC to lease the land. Just recently the group established a non-profit organization called KAMO Adventures to sponsor these Wounded Warrior hunts. Please see www.kamoadventures.com for more information.
KAMO Adventures believes in providing a safe supportive and friendly environment where wounded US service members can assist each other in the healing process both mentally and physically, We offer outdoor hunting experiences unique to each wounded veteran’s needs and abilities. We are dedicated to serving and honoring or returning wounded heroes. We encourage our wounded heroes to focus on their abilities regardless of their current physical and emotional limitations. KAMO Adventures is a completely volunteer-run facility.
Stephen Johnson wanted to get involved in the Wounded Warrior project. When he saw a report on Outdoor Life about Hunts for Heroes and got a name from the credits, he fired off an e-mail and soon had a response.
He told Wes Spinks about his plans to bring wounded soldiers into a no pressure hunting situation and Wes said, “I’m in.”
Last year was such a rewarding experience; the hunt club and Wes Spinks decided to do it again.
This year was no different, except for a more reserved bunch of Wounded Warriors, but the enthusiasm for the hunt was just as high. Wes had made the appointment with the Sun weeks ago to interview the Wounded Warriors at 11 a.m. Saturday. Even so, Gator didn’t have a lot of time to talk. He had a buck tag and a doe tag to fill. Everybody else had deer hunting experience and was ready to get back after them.
They could afford to cut lunch short. Prime rib was on the menu for that evening.
Bill Eckert, secretary/treasurer of the hunt club, said, “We would like to give the following credits for those sponsoring the hunt. Bass Pro, Independence, Cosentino’s Price Chopper, Peculiar Meat Company, ProSource Wholesale Floor coverings, Liberty Bank, Spinks Family Ranch, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, Sharp’s Taxidermy Studio.”
Well, by the end of the hunt which was Monday afternoon, Nov 19, the Wounded Warriors had bagged five deer, four does and a seven point buck. No one was surprised that the four Wounded Warriors said they had a great time. The entire hunting party bagged a sack of good times.