View Full Version : Purple Heart hunt to help wounded servicemen

02-09-09, 07:03 AM
Purple Heart hunt to help wounded servicemen
More than 40 wounded servicemen will take part in quail hunts throughout Southwest Georgia
J.D. Sumner j.d.sumner@albanyherald.com

EDISON — Following up on the success of a similar event last year, the inaugural Purple Heart Quail Hunt will honor and thank those servicemen who have sustained injuries in the in service to their country on Valentine’s Day weekend, organizers say.

Last year, Lt. Col. Dan Hammack rallied corporate and community sponsors to treat a dozen or so Purple Heart recipients who were injured on the battlefronts in Iraq and Afghanistan to hunts in Calhoun County.

With the anniversary of that hunt fast approaching, Hammack, a Special Forces soldier who gave more than was asked of him to his country, has decided to host another hunt — one that will far surpass the event he was able to pull together in the south Georgia wiregrass terrain last year.

“After everything went smoothly, word started to spread and I started getting phone calls from people all over the country saying, ‘Hey, I saw your story in USA Today and I want to know what I can do to help,’” he said.

Hammack first garnered pats on the back from some of his old military buddies, but then he was named in a resolution honoring the hunt that was presented in the General Assembly. After that, people at places like Fort Bragg and Walter Reed Army Medical Center started returning his calls ... and everything snowballed from there.

With the support of U.S. armed forces, Hammack will welcome nearly 50 injured troops from all over the country into a south Georgia community he hopes they’ll be able to forget about their injuries for a while and enjoy weekend they’ll always remember.

“This may have grown, but the purpose is still the same,” he said. “It’s to help these guys get out of the hospitals, get out of their everyday routine and let loose and build some camaraderie with other servicemen.”

This year, Hammack has the full backing of some recognizable names. Winchester has donated ammunition, Budweiser has donated beverages and Applebee’s is catering the weekend meals.

Volunteers and supporters around the area have also come out to help with the event. This year the hunts will take place on seven different plantations around Southwest Georgia, with churches and community members giving their time and homes to provide some meals and lodging for the soldiers and Marines.

But, Hammack says, there is still time for those who would like to donate money to the cause to help provide an even more comfortable event.

To contact Hammack, e-mail him at southwildhq@windstream.net.