David Young has loved the thrill of the hunt since he was a kid.
“It’s really relaxing to be outdoors,” said Young,a DuBois-native who lives in Allentown.
Joseph Zilich, an Ohio resident, hasn’t felt that thrill for 20 years, until Saturday. The U.S. Navy veteran has a progressive neurological disorder and has trouble walking. Thanks to the non-profit Wings for Our Heroes, Zilich hunted just like anyone else
“This is a dream,” Zilich said.
Wings for Our Heroes helps disabled military, fire, police and EMS from across the country shoot clay pigeons and hunt pheasants, for free. They own two adaptive, all-terrain wheelchairs for veterans just like Zilich.
“The fact that they have an all-terrain wheelchair, I have a walker and it has a lot of boundaries,” Zilich said. “This wasn’t even imaginable.”
Even veterans who aren’t living with a disability can still come out and enjoy the hunt.
“Meet other veterans. Make some friendships, connections. Have us lean on each other just like we did in the military,” said Young, a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Someday, the non-profit hopes to buy enough wheelchairs to give them away. The challenge they face now is raising money and reaching more veterans and first responders.
“I know there’s a lot of people out there who feel they don’t deserve it or it’s meant for somebody who’s more worse off than them,” Young said. “To all the other vets out there that are not taking advantage of these types of things, these people really want to help you out and are very genuine in what they do. Come out and enjoy yourself.”
If you’d like to apply to go on a free hunt or donate to Wings for Our Heroes, click here to find out how.
You can also call: 814-244-0656.