Once again, beginning Thursday afternoon, Paralyzed Veterans Association hunters will begin to arrive in Miami for the River Bottom Sportsmen's Hunt for Disabled Veterans. The four veterans will be taken to their hotels where their rooms will be stuffed with presents of hunting gear and goodies to welcome them and set the tone for the weekend meant to show respect to these honorable men who have served our country.
Since 2008 this annual hunt has taken place which began as a way to give back to the veterans who have sacrificed for our country.
“This event should remind us that only two defining forces have ever offered to die for us.... Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for our soul, the other for your freedom. For this four day event we celebrate those soldiers that give so much for our freedom. Special guests are chosen to come to our community to be with us, but for us they are symbolic of all American Veterans. This project has been successful because we understand that we will never be able to express, in thank you form, how great the gift of freedom is,”Jack Dalrymple, one of the event's founders, said.
This year's veterans and guest hunters are Mat Powell from Arkansas, Army; Ben Crabtree from Lawton, Navy; Tom Richey from McCloud, Navy; Earl Wright from Lexington, Marines and PVA President Bill Kokendoffer, with cameramen Joe Fox Sr. and Keith Hays.
Starting Thursday the red, white and blue of American Flags will line the streets of Miami including a huge Garrison flag which will hang from the Dalrymple's downtown building for a patriotic reception. The City of Miami will be lighting the flag during the four-day event.
Comfortable, inviting lodging is being provided by the Hampton Inn & Suites and the Buffalo Run Resort to give the hunters a place to rest and reenergize.
The hunting gear, embroidered with their names, donated by the Miami Walmart, will keep the Veterans warm and camouflaged for the hunts. Gift bags and goodies from the Miami Chamber and Visitors Bureau will welcome them to Miami and invite them back again.
“The cool thing is, our guests don't expect or require even the insignificant gesture that we are able to conjure up. Over the years that we have been lucky enough to participate in this project our group of “River Bottom Sportsmen for Disabled Veterans” have matured. We realize that we receive the blessing just by being allowed to share the same space and time with these realAmericans,” Dalrymple said.
The hunters will meet at the Dalrymple Farm for gun safety and hunter education from Officer David Dean from the Miami Police Department Thursday afternoon.
The first day will be topped off with a welcoming and decadent dinner party provided by the Coleman House Restaurant at the Buffalo Run Casino. Master of Ceremonies will be Shannon Duhon and Ottawa County District Attorney Eddie Wyant will give welcoming remarks to the Veterans.
On Friday the PVA hunters will be served a hearty breakfast before they begin a day of deer hunting. They will stop long enough for a fish fry lunch by Chef Duhon, served by representatives from Congressman Dan Boren and U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe's offices, before returning to the quest for the biggest bucks.
Jamie Williams who has volunteered and helped organize the hunt since its inception by seeking donations and helping with the hunt has strong feelings about the event.
“This event is something I am very passionate about. It’s a lot of fun when the community is as supportive as they are with this special event. I’ve been involved with several events over the last 15 years and this by far exceeds all previous events. The experiences that you get from the veterans are priceless. What an honor and a privilege to get to give back to these hero’s. I've been around hall of famers, baseball legends, and the king of country music “George Strait” and nothing compares to the 3 three days with these hero's, legends, and kings. I just want to say thanks to Jack and Rosie Dalrymple for having this wonderful event and allowing me to be a part of it,” Jamie Williams said.
Help poured in from many sources. Fruit and veggie trays will be provided by NEO A&M College for snacking. ATVs will transport the vets wherever they need to go during the hunts. Fish and Wildlife services will be there to greet and help the Veterans.
After a long, and hopefully successful day of hunting, the men will be treated by the Chetopa Fire Department to the now famous Hog Trough Stew and some Gumbo.
Saturday kicks off with another good, hearty breakfast provided by Route 66 Rentals before the men hit the hunting grounds again. Then a delicious pizza and pasta lunch provided by Pizza Hut and deer burritos served by the Event Staff to recharge before more hunting. The day ends with dinner and Will Terrant and traditional Native American dancers will be gracing the barn to honor the Veterans.
If by Sunday any hunter has not filled their tag they will have another chance to go after a deer.
Four camera crews from FiredUp Outdoors (affiliated with Mossy Oak) will be following the Veterans to film their activities. Commerce Fireman will be appearing for a field presentation. Miami's firemen have also generously donated tot he hunt.
Coon Dog Road, leading to the hunting grounds was worked and readied by County Commissioner John Clarke. The King brothers built a permanent water well to keep food plots watered for the event.
For months the River Bottom Sportsmen and community volunteers have worked food plots, trail cams, and gathered donations.
“Talk about something easy to do. This project is it. There has never been a need that has not been met by someone in our community. Not one single sponsor or hunt staff member is in it for self. If you need a definition of true community spirit I think you might use Miami, Oklahoma,” Dalrymple said.