During its 26th Gala Dinner and Convention the SCI Italian Chapter also gave the “SCI Italian Chapter Award,” a gorgeous silver lion, to the “Hunter of the Year 2012,” Prince Saeedullah Khan, fifth from left, who is shown surrounded by previous winners present during the Gala Dinner ceremony.
Swarovski Optik has a television show called Swarovski Optik Quests—With The Eyes Of A Hawk that airs on NBC Sports. SCI is one of the corporate partners of the show, and it kicks off its second season in Utah on a mule deer hunt with SCI President John Whipple and Rusty Hall of Western Lands Outfitters.
“The response to the show in season one was overwhelming, and only added to our excitement to move ahead into season two. To be able to partner with such great companies and utilize the best optics manufactured in the world today really makes for some excellent entertainment. For us, TV is a very important part of our media schedule and seeing the unbelievable consumer response to the show has been very rewarding,” said Dean Capuano, Director of Communications for Swarovski Optik North America.
The groundbreaking new series airs this fall on NBC Sports, and then re-airs on Sportsman Channel. Each action-packed episode features a team of Swarovski Optik Pro Staffers traveling to the world’s most exotic locations in search of the planet’s most difficult and sought-after trophies while showcasing Swarovski Optik’s high precision, high quality, sought-after optics.
By Captain Dave Funk, Past President, Iowa Chapter-SCI
Those were the words silently uttered when Chris Heenan, Lance Cpl. USMC, assigned to the Wounded Warrior Detachment at Fort Sam Houston, Texas thought when his “Gunny” screamed at him to get into the Colonel’s office “NOW!” in early April, 2012. Little did he know that he was just selected to attend a very special shooting school.
That young man, born in Australia into a family of avid hunters and whose parents with him in tow, immigrated to Round Rock, Texas, while he was still a high school student. Upon graduation, Chris joined the Marine Corps and was later granted his American citizenship on July 4, 2011 in Afghanistan while serving his new country. Not long after that, while riding on patrol on Aug. 19 in a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle in South Helmand Providence, Lcpl. Heenan and his fellow Marines were hit by a massive IED. With multiple spinal and traumatic brain injuries, Chris Heenan’s life was changed forever.
Two friends and I booked a September class at the Holland Long Range Shooting School in Powers, Oregon while at the SCI Convention in Reno. A political campaign forced me to delay that trip, and then in September 2011, a serious health scare put that one off. Finally, in April 2012 in College Station, Texas, I sat down in class with 13 other shooters. One of those shooters, 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Heenan, a Purple Heart recipient for his service in Afghanistan, was my fellow member of “Team Blaser.”
Fellow SCI Member Lt. Col. Dave Barns mentioned in a BlaserPro.com forum posting that he uses shooting and hunting, mostly in Texas, to help his combat-wounded Marine heroes to help them recover from their injuries and reintegrate back into the Marine Corps or to civilian life. BlaserPro.com members started supporting his efforts with Blaser rifles, ammo, scopes and shooting gear.
After visiting with Barns, my hunting partner and past SCI Conservation Officer of the Year, Captain Mike Trenholm, and I asked Darrel Holland what it would cost for Mike and me to sponsor one of the Wounded Warriors to his school? Darrel stopped us right there and said he would sponsor one of them himself.
Everett Deger of Hornady Manufacturing made the same commitment, providing the necessary match ammo for the Wounded Warrior attendee.
For four days, under perfect Texas rifle shooting weather: wind, rain, wind, hot sun, blowing dust and did I mention wind? Those 13 shooters worked hard learning ballistics, range estimation using their scope reticles, wind reading, slope calculations and shooting from 350 to 1,000 yards.
Thanks to Hornady, BlaserPro.com and special thanks to Darrel Holland. All of these companies and individuals continue to show their support to our veterans for their service. Mike Trenholm and I, like tens of thousands of other veterans, served our country. Chris Heenan and his fellow Wounded Warriors didn’t just serve, they sacrificed.
SCI sponsored Olympic shooter Kim Rhode in the 2012 London Olympics. There, she became the first U.S. athlete to win five medals in five consecutive Olympic games. She also broke the Olympic record of shooting 99 out of 100 targets. Rhode, a Sables and SCI Life Member, sat down with SCI’s Publications Director, Steve Comus, at the 2012 Grand American to describe what it’s like to win an Olympic gold medal and what she’s planning for the future.