Local vets honored at shoot

Published 6:38 pm Saturday, April 1, 2017

In its third year and at full capacity, the Legacy Ranch Tower Shoot, a veteran-centric event that provides veterans the opportunity to participate in a full day tower shoot-style hunting event that included hunting for 224 released pheasants, breakfast, lunch, prizes, gifts and a cleaned pheasant to take home to cook, was held on Saturday, Feb. 25. The event hosted 32 locally based veterans on a private ranch just outside of Suffolk.

These local veterans and their sons participated in the Legacy Ranch Tower Shoot, which was organized by Mike and Judy Luter and coordinated by Freedom Hunters.

The warriors at this event were either currently serving or retired from many branches of the U.S. military, including the Navy and Marines. Several veterans shared this event with their children. In addition, four participants were Purple Heart recipients, three with ambulatory disabilities hunted out of track chairs — specially constructed chairs with snowmobile-like tracks to move them — two have served in the Vietnam War, and many have invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

As a means of sharing his passion and honoring local veterans, this event was conceived and organized by local entrepreneur Mike Luter and his wife, Judy. The Luters partnered with Freedom Hunters, a national organization dedicated to providing outdoor adventures to veterans and their families, to communicate with and recruit vets to participate in this event. The event takes months of planning, and the activities are manned by approximately 20 volunteers, most of which are family and friends of the Luter family.

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“From the first story I heard about a veteran attending a Freedom Hunters event and the monumental effect it had on them, I knew this organization would help me share my love of hunting, while honoring and giving back to these brave American heroes,” said Mike Luter, event organizer and owner of Arrowhead Environmental Services, an environmental and industrial company.

Freedom Hunters reports that in terms of warrior participation, the Legacy Ranch Tower Shoot is their largest event on the East Coast and the largest single hunting event scheduled across the country this year.

“These vets and their families have served our country honorably and have made tremendous sacrifices to be a part of our country’s national security,” said Bud DePlatchett, East Coast Coordinator, Member of the Board of Directors and National Treasurer of Freedom Hunters.

Currently, Freedom Hunters is seeking outdoor adventures for more than 5,000 applicants nationwide, and more than 450 applicants in Virginia. Any veteran or qualifying individual can apply on their website, www.FreedomHunters.org.