The West Texas Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI) donated $75,000 to name Trinity Oaks’ main lodge at Thumbtack Ranch in memory of Sydney Dickerson-Matthews. Sydney, an 11 year-old sixth grader, was taken too soon from her Midland family in a tragic ATV accident this past September.
“Sydney was a gentle, kind, competitive spirit who loved the outdoors. Her passion was to always help other kids in any way she could,” describes her mother, Valerie Matthews. “I am so excited and appreciative for this amazing opportunity to keep our Sydney’s memory alive in a way that she would be so proud of.”
West Texas Chapter of SCI, of which Sydney’s father is a board member and is supported by the entire Matthews family, voted in March to honor Sydney and her memory with a gift to Trinity Oaks’ Thumbtack Ranch. The $75,000 grant will go toward a $6 million campaign to purchase the property outright, renovate its main lodge and make all support infrastructure handicapped accessible.
Cal Hendrick, West Texas Chapter President stated, “Last fall Trinity Oaks had submitted a grant request to us for financial support for a ‘last wish’ dream hunting trip for a terminally ill child. The organization unanimously decided to support that opportunity to give back to Trinity Oaks, who shares many of our same mission values. Our Board since then has become more and more aware of the great things Trinity Oaks does to use hunting and fishing as a humanitarian lever to bring joy and peace into the lives of those less fortunate.”
A $50,000 gift was raised from West Texas Chapter’s January gala. The Board of Directors later approved an additional $25,000 grant in March. The total gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a challenge grant from former Duck Dynasty Executive Producer Scott Gurney – having a total impact of $150,000 toward the purchase of the property.
“This generous gift from our friends at the West Texas Chapter of SCI reflects the heart and soul of our mission – to use hunting and fishing to give back and make a difference in the lives of others,” said Tom Snyder, Trinity Oaks Founder and Director. “We are honored to name our new lodge in memory of this wonderful girl who celebrated the outdoors and hunting. Thousands of children will now be able to celebrate that same joy.”
Thumbtack Ranch in Batesville, Texas is a 2,000-acre paradise located 85 miles from San Antonio. Trinity Oaks has used this facility for hunting and fishing excursions for wounded and combat veterans, youth and the terminally ill. Trinity Oaks was given the opportunity to purchase the property outright this year. Trinity Oaks’ Executive Director Britt Hosmer explains, “Centralizing our programs to one site so close to a major city will save us tens of thousands in operating costs and allow us to exponentially increase our impact, as well as give our mission a sustainable home base for the foreseeable future!”
To that end, Trinity Oaks’ goal is to raise $6 million to purchase and renovate the property for handicap access, program capacity, and road and infrastructure improvements. The Gurney Foundation has generously pledged to match all donations received by the end of 2017 up to $2 million, to secure purchasing rights. Trinity Oaks has dozens of naming opportunities and is promoting the “Adopt an Acre” campaign. A $3,000 donation secures naming recognition for the donor and that parcel will appear on a huge map located in the lodge.
Trinity Oaks’ mission is to use hunting, fishing, and outdoors experiences to give back and make a difference in the lives of others. Those people in need including families of children with terminal illnesses and disabilities, disadvantaged children in the city and surrounding community, and veterans suffering from both emotional and physical wounds of war. Since its 2007 inception, volunteers have helped thousands of people in need, with dream hunting trips, youth programs, and incredibly has processed and distributed annually over 110,000 pounds of meat to soup kitchens throughout Texas.