Warrior Hunts of Northeast Louisiana Veterans Association is a nonprofit organization working to show support to children, family and caregivers of combat veterans, combat wounded veterans and active duty special operators of Northeast Louisiana who have served since Sept. 11, 2001 by taking them on hunting trips.
“It's totally community driven,” John Nolan Jr, director of Warrior Hunts, said. “This part of the community has not had an opportunity to say welcome back.”
Upcoming events for this year include Warrior Deerpocalypse II around Veterans Day and the Third Annual Patriot Hunt in December with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Warrior works with Heroes on the Water, Warrior Bonfire Project, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Air Commando Association, Patriot Hunts, Wounded Warriors in Action, Wounded War Heroes and others.
“It's addicting to see a father and son who wouldn't have had an opportunity to hunt or a guy in a wheelchair who wouldn't have had the opportunity,” Nolan said.
Prior hunts have been featured on YouTube and TP Outdoors Adventures. The “Pay It Forward Outdoors” series will air soon and includes several different types of hunts including catfish noodling, squirrel, turkey and hog hunts.
A fundraiser is being held for Warrior Hunts to raise money for fall events at town hall in Sterlington. T-shirts are available there for those who donate a certain amount.
“They got our first batch,” Nolan said. “We've had several other places offer. We're just waiting to see how fast those go. Our goal is to not make them pay for anything. Just let them come here and have a good time.”
According to estimates by other local organizations like Wounded Warriors, it costs about $1,000 per warrior for all of the hunt expenses. Nolan said he's able to spend less than that thanks to help from locals of Northeast Louisiana including Gloria Flint with the Hilton Inn, who Nolan says gives them a good deal, and restaurants like Catfish Charlie's and Willie's Duck Diner. The organization is made up entirely of volunteers which saves them the expense of having paid employees.
For more information about the organization, visit the PALS and Warrior Hunts of NELVA Facebook page.