While missing a “chip shot” at a monster buck may be a bowhunter’s worst nightmare, realizing that his bow and hunting gear was stolen during a second Middle East tour in the U.S. Army may be a close second.
For Army SSG Nathan Downer, the big reward after a year in Kuwait was rejoining his wife who is expecting their second child. But let’s face it, for a bowhunting fanatic, getting your hunting gear pinched while you’re off serving your country makes for a bittersweet “welcome home.” He grew up in Wyoming hunting elk and mule deer and developed a passion for Kentucky’s elusive whitetails while stationed at Fort Knox.
As hunters, we understand how being in the outdoors is a healing experience – one that Downer deserves and is much needed in his re-entry process. But replacing his equipment was simply not in the family budget, as he and his wife are reestablishing their lives and setting up home in the Bluegrass State – a hunting community where news travels fast.
Volunteers of the Kentuckiana Chapter of Safari Club International took action to remedy this reprehensible act and meet Downer’s needs. As luck and would have it, our Chapter learned that fellow hunter and veteran Clint Tally recently won a PSE Stinger and was willing to donate his now very slightly used bow to the cause.
KYSCI volunteers went on to get donations and put together a gear package for Downer including a $100 Cabelas gift card, arrows and broadheads, a climbing treestand, safety harness and much more. Now all he needs is a big buck to walk in front of his stand during hunting season, but that we cannot guarantee!
While SSG Downer expresses his deep gratitude to KYSCI, we thank him. It’s the least we can do to honor his service. We also honor and appreciate what all members of our armed forces and veterans do to preserve our freedom as Americans.–Alan Kirschenbaum