The Warrior Connection and The Young County Warrior Ranch partnered up to fundraise for veterans through Heli-Hog, a helicopter hog hunt. The event was a huge success because of the relationships created throughout the weekend. The purpose of this event was to serve our veterans, and we are so grateful to have had such fantastic support.
Let's Get the Heli-Hog Event Started! In late March, as the sun began to rise over the plains of Texas, over 200 veterans and civilians gathered together for the flag-raising that would kick off the Heli-Hog fundraising event. Anticipation filled the air as the crowd dressed in camouflage and sporting their rifles prepared to clear local farmlands of feral hogs from the sky! With the raising of the flag and the invocation, delivered by Army Ranger, Chaplin Steven Berry, there was a feeling of reverence amongst the veterans within the crowd. The raising of the flag reminds us of what we stand for, and why we gathered here -- to help veterans reclaim their lives and realize the bright futures they deserve. As the weekend carried on, civilians and veterans were supported by Graham's local first responders, politicians, churches, and restaurants, who all connected over activities, meals, stories, and the love for hunting and the outdoors. Veterans shared shooting knowledge with civilians as groups waited to load up the helicopter and enjoy their aerial hunting experience. The hunters received support from the local community of Graham, who donated their time and services (namely authentic local Texas barbeque!) to make the event possible. A mixture of TWC's Board Members, staff, and program alumni was in attendance. Ralph, TWC's Board Vice-Chair, described the hunt as being "Absolutely one of the most inspiring events I've been to in a long time." Paul, TWC Alumni, and program graduate shared that "It was a blast - I could have flown all day. The food was killer, and there was plenty."
It's More Than An Event; It's a Reason to Celebrate For TWC and The Warrior Ranch, Heli-Hog is more than an annual event or an opportunity to fire the 'ol freedom sticks. It is an opportunity to bring together veterans and the local community. Bringing together hunters throughout Texas, and from across the country to help raise the money needed to support our mission - healing veterans and military spouses, and preventing veteran suicide. We were determined to execute the event not just with fun and purpose, but with honor - and honor for the veterans that are no longer with us and remembrance for all those we've lost. Through that and the help of those who attended or donated, Warrior Ranch is poised to thrive and continue in a big way. TWC is very proud to be aligned with such a hardworking and upstanding group of great patriots and Americans.
Did We Bring Home the Bacon? All in all, Heli-Hog hunters took about 498 hogs, 17 cayotes, four goats, and one donkey, which left local farmers very happy as the decrease in invasive feral hogs will help protect their farmland and the Texas eco-system. All that said, we have one question for you-- will you be there to experience this for yourself next year?