Gold Star Families enjoy hunting experience on Fort Benning
Fort Benning Public Affairs /
In an effort to provide a fun, safe and educational hunting experience and environment, sponsors and volunteers from Fort Benning and the local area treated six Gold Star children and their family members to an all-expenses paid four-day visit and hunt on Fort Benning.
A Gold Star family is a family who has lost a service member in combat or while serving on active duty.
“Gold Star families are special to those of us serving and this hunt with these children is just a way for us to give back and continue to care for the families of those that made the ultimate sacrifice,” wrote Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Moore, a former operations sergeant major at Fort Benning and the primary organizer of the event.
The Gold Star families arrived at Uchee Creek Lodge Nov. 10 where the young hunters received their gear and got acquainted with their escorts.
The following day, the Gold Star families experienced a piece of real airborne training by jumping out of a 34-foot tower to simulate a parachute jump.
After lunch the young teens geared up and traveled to their first hunting site where they learned about safety and proper hunting techniques.
“We were able to do a bonding event with some young men who had lost their fathers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Metheny, command sergeant major at the Maneuver Center of Excellence in an email response. “One of the mothers even sent us a text thanking us for being a Dad and a positive male role model for her son, something that she could not do.”
It was an early wakeup call on day three as the Gold Star Families linked up with their hunting partners and headed to the field for a hunt at Uchee Creek Lodge. In the afternoon the young hunters traveled to another location to hunt.
The next morning it was all too soon to say goodbye, but not before the Gold Star Families were treated to a shotgun clinic and demonstration by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.
Many local businesses and residents donated equipment, food and their time to support the event.
James and Chad Hampton from The TV show, “Twin Factor”, were also on hand to film the event for one of their upcoming episodes.
“This was an event that produced memories that will last a lifetime as well as hopefully creating some ethical hunters and providing these young men with a foundation and skill set that will bring a lifetime of enjoyment,” said Metheny.