FRYBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Disabled veterans who were chosen for the Camo Cares destination hunting trips were escorted by the American Legion Riders from the Ramada by Wyndham in Clarion to the Fryburg Sportsman’s Club Farm on Saturday.
(Photos by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)
On Saturday, June 22, The Camo Cares organization held their annual fundraiser to send five disabled veterans on destination hunting trips.
This year, the charity is sending Major Samuel Rosales who served in the United States Marine Corps, and Master Seargent Daniel Robles, Seargent James Gordon, Sergeant Bradley Willman, and Specialist Shean Cogburn of the United States Army.
(Pictured above: Samuel Rosales and Bradley Willman with Camo Cares volunteers)
“It feels good just to see everybody, just proud Americans just coming out and supporting us. It feels like family,” Rosales said.
“It’s a great event,” he added.
All of these veterans fought and were injured in the Persian Gulf Era wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the past ten years, the Camo Cares organization has been holding an event to raise money to send disabled veterans on destination hunting trips with the “Hunt of a Lifetime” organization. All funds raised are used for the hunting trips.
Camo Cares works with the organization Military Warriors Support Foundation which coordinates the selection of the veterans who get to go on the destination hunting trips.
The foundation selected this year’s disabled veterans from all over the United States – with Rosales coming from Covington, Georgia; Robles from Greenridge Texas; Cogburn from St. Claire Michigan; Willman from Hondo, Texas; and Gordon from San Antonio, Texas.
Kyle Schwabenbauer, the organizer of the Camo Cares fundraiser, has been involved with Camo Cares from the start of the organization.
Schwabenbauer is very passionate about this fundraiser.
“The name itself was one that we thought up, you know Camo Cares, the idea was that hunters and sportsmen and women can help people.”
“It’s very important to me from the standpoint of sportsmen and women doing good for people around them,” Schwabenbauer said.
“I think there’s a lot of bad press related to hunters and sportsmen and women in general, I think a lot of people don’t understand the sport if they didn’t grow up with it.”
“In rural areas a lot of people, it’s second nature to them, people who have never been exposed to it may have a bad impression of outdoorsmen and women.”
Generally, there are approximately 200 volunteers at the event.
“It’s a strictly grassroots, all-volunteer effort. There are no paid employees. All the money that is raised, one hundred percent of it, goes straight to sending kids and veterans on the hunts,” Schwabenbauer added.
The event started with an archery shoot involving three different courses and ninety different targets. There were raffles and games throughout the afternoon, after which a ceremony was held to introduce the individuals who have gone on the destination hunting trips in the past. The event concluded with concerts at night.
This was the second year that the American Legion Riders – a motorcycle club affiliated with the Knox American Legion – escorted the veterans to the event.
American Legion Riders Knox Chapter Vice President Greg Grimm told exploreClarion.com that he was surprised with how well the escort went last year and that his organization was excited to be able to do it again this year.
“Every year (Camo Cares) takes a limo, and picks up whatever disabled vets they have available,” Grimm said.
“They thought it would be nice to escort that limo,” Grimm said.
While the American Legion Riders may be the ones who escort the limo all the way to Fryburg, they also receive help from local police and fire departments who block off roadways and intersections to make the escort as seamless as possible for the many American Legion Riders.
According to Grimm, between 50 and 60 bikers came to escort the disabled veterans to the Camo Cares event.
“It’s just nice to be able to escort them and give themselves a feeling of pride,” Grimms said.
Schwabenbauer said that the organization is incredibly grateful for the help that it receives from the American Legion Riders.
“Last year was the first year I had ever seen anything like that. I mean it’s quite a thing to see,” Schwabenbauer said about the Legion Riders escort.
“We were blown away last year when we saw the bikes coming in. We knew what was gonna happen, but I think it was just the spectacle of seeing the bikes ride in.”
“It was just inspiring to me to see guys from our area supporting veterans that they had never met before and doing it in such a profound way,” he added.