Northern Michigan in Focus: Veterans Hunt

Last weekend, more than 400 veterans and first responders gathered in Marion for a very special event at Tails-A-Waggin’ Acres which just keeps growing and growing.

Corey Adkins takes us there in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“There’s a lot of wounds here, but you’re not going to see. We have a whole group of people that every day that you’re here, you’ll see somebody else that has some sort of a disability,” said Tim Beaver.

This is a story about a group of people who have each others’ backs.

It’s the 14th year of the Tails-A-Waggin’ Pheasant Hunt for Veterans, and any branch of the military and any age veteran is welcome.

Ron Callard served in the Navy in the ‘50s. He’s having a hard time getting around these days.

“About four years ago, because of my health deteriorating, I made a wish. This in one of the things that was on that list, was I wanted to hunt pheasants again,” explained Ron.

That’s where Kris Korreck comes in. He served in the Marine Corps for over 20 years from 1995 to 2015.

He saw some pretty rough stuff and still wants to serve, but now in a different way.

“After doing the tours I have, you try to think of what you can do,” said Kris.

He did.

“For me, who has served combat deployments, to do something for somebody who’s in the wheelchair, the mechanized wheelchair, it makes me feel like I’m doing something for them,” explained Kris. “I’m still able to walk and I have my hands, at least I can give back to them.”

This weekend is not just about shooting birds, it’s about catching up and laughing, but just as important is remembering, which can sometimes lead to tears.

“We lost two ambassadors to the sport that we do, and Big Jim… he was the comic relief here for us. He was here every morning. He was a captain in the Army, so he knew what this was all about and it sucks that he’s not here with us,” said Tim. “And the other guy, Hugh, I’ve known him 12 years and it just sucks that they’re not here anymore. But they’re looking down on us, and that’s probably why we’re have over 400 people here.”

One of the volunteers, Roger Bandeen once said, “It’s something you have to see, feel and be there to understand.”

“We’ve had vets that have said they don’t think they can come here because of the gunshots. They bring back bad memories, so we work with those guys,” explained Tim. “I will bring them back out your one-on-one without the crowd. We have vets that don’t like to talk to people or mingle with big crowds. They just don’t get it, but they’ll come out here and realize that everybody here has been through a part of what they have gone through and that heals them. That’s the big thing about it, it heals them.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus