There was a day when they ran to the sound of gunfire. This past weekend in Moyock, N.C. it was more of a casual walk.
That’s not to say they weren’t eager to shoot. Nearly 100 military veterans were joined by 150 of their family members to Honored America’s Veterans Afield Family Range Day. They represented service in our nation’s wars. They fought in Vietnam, Panama and the Gulf War. They shared stories of both the joy and miseries of Iraq and Afghanistan tours.
Industry Gives Back
Thanks to the combined efforts of companies in the firearms industry, these veterans were treated to a free day at the range to shoot some of the latest firearms models, check their marksmanship skills and, most importantly, bond with friends and families.
“We do this as a way for those of us in the firearms industry to give back,” said Tom Taylor, HAVA’s Chairman. “The firearms industry is home to many veterans and it is our way of say thanks for all you have done for our country.”
SIG Sauer had several of the newest military sidearms on hand, SIG’s P320, for the veterans to test fire. Glock was on hand, as were firearms from Mossberg, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, IWI and XS Sight Systems. They were joined by others, including Hornady, Federal Premium, SureFire, Crimson Trace, FMG Publications ad NSSF among others. They all had one purpose and the veterans got into the spirit of the day quickly.
Freedom’s Ring On Steel Targets
The day’s events kicked off by a show of what veteran determination can do. Rick Cicero, Manager and Lead Instructor for HAVA’s Learn to Shoot Again program, put on a demonstration of what’s possible when veterans recovering from injuries connect with one another and put their sights on their targets. Cicero is a recovering wounded warrior, who lost an arm and leg in Afghanistan while serving as a military contractor. He was determined during his recovery to get back to a firing line. For this HAVA Family Range Day, the seventh at this location, Cicero showed he had the military grit to accomplish his goals.
Cicero was shooting, moving from target-to-target, and punching holes in the scoring rings. Making it even more impressive, he was doing it with a new prosthetic leg for which he was fitted just a week before.
“It’s all about getting veterans up and out of the house and back to doing something they didn’t know they could do,” Cicero explained. “We might just have to find a way to do it differently. It’s not about what they can’t do anymore. It’s about finding out what they can do and learning how we can make that happen.”
HAVA hosts several Family Range Days and hunts by invitation for veterans. For more information, visit their website, www.honoredveterans.org.
Mark Oliva manages public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.