With all expenses paid thanks to Big South Fork Veteran Hunt and Camp Dennis, local veteran, Derrick Koontz (Desert Storm) enjoyed bear hunting and fishing in Quebec, Canada.
By Eugenia Jones
Thanks to Big South Fork Veteran Hunt, Inc. (BSFVH,), several local veterans as well as veterans from across the nation are enjoying the great outdoors by participating in all expenses paid hunting and fishing expeditions.
The local, non profit organization, founded in 2017 by McCreary County veteran Ricky Allen, is dedicated to supporting combat veterans by getting them outdoors to hunt and fish while bonding with other veterans in the process. The organization places a special emphasis on helping veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome disorder and traumatic brain injury.
After participating in a couple of veteran hunts himself and seeing how beneficial they are for veterans, Allen couldn’t help but think about all the beautiful forests and waterways in McCreary County.
“To me, it just seemed natural to help our veterans by bringing them here to hunt and fish,” remarked the twenty-one year KY National Guard veteran who served in Iraq.
After working tirelessly for months to establish the BSFVH organization, secure donations, and organize fundraising events during the 2017 inaugural year, Allen was pleased when BSFVH happily welcomed five U. S. combat veterans (including two Purple Heart recipients) from Texas and Pennsylvania to McCreary County to participate in last November’s first official deer hunt. The veterans enjoyed several days of deer hunting with all expenses paid. Each veteran also received their very own walnut stocked Mossberg Patriot 308 caliber rifle.
Now in its second year of existence, BSFVH has quickly expanded the program to offer more opportunities to veterans-including several from McCreary County.
Just this summer, BSFVH partnered with 4:13 Outdoor Ministries to take two McCreary County Veterans, Joe Worley (Vietnam/Korea) and Jake Bressler (WW II), on all expenses paid fishing trips with other veterans to Grand Isle, Louisiana where they also received their own fishing gear and other items.
Thanks to BSFVH and Camp Dennis, local veteran, Derrick Koontz (Desert Storm), spent June 15-22 enjoying an all expenses paid bear hunting and fishing trip in Quebec, Canada.
Koontz, who harvested a 4ft, 8 inch bear during the expedition said the trip was one of a lifetime.
“I will never forget the trip,” Koontz remarked. “There is no way to repay the kindness of Camp Dennis for providing the hunt and BSFVH for setting it up and getting me there.”
In July, local McCreary County veterans, Jonathan Jones (Iraq) and Daryl Reardon (Desert Storm), joined four others for a guided striper fishing trip to Grider Hill Marina on beautiful Lake Cumberland.
Four veterans from across the nation and a Gold Star Child will participate in BSFVH’s main deer hunt in November with each receiving their own hunting equipment to keep. Local hunting and/or fishing expeditions are also scheduled in September and October.
Relying on donations, Allen is asking the community to support hunts, fishing expeditions, and other outdoor adventures for veterans.
“No donation is too small,” Allen remarked. “Money is great, but manpower and hunting/fishing/outdoor supplies are also helpful. Whether it’s a $10.00 shooting stick, manpower, land to hunt/fish on, or 2 x 4’s to use for building hunting blinds-anything can help make our outreach to veterans a good experience. All funds and donations will be used to provide all expenses paid outdoor experiences to combat vets. That’s where your donated money goes.”
Those who would like more information or to volunteer or donate may contact Ricky Allen at 606-310-1683 or BSFVeteranhunt@yahoo.com. The organization also maintains a Facebook page under BSF Veteran Hunt.