Brett Miller attended the harvest Fire to collect donations for the charity he leads. photo by Jerry Baldock
Cash donations critical for veteran charity
Many outfits, from national chains to Sisters Country businesses, have stepped up in a big way to support Warfighter Outfitters with in-kind donations.
Those donations have help make a major elk-hunting trip for disabled veterans happen this month (see story, page 1).
But cash donations remain critical to getting veterans out on the water or into the woods. And a little bit goes a long way.
According to Warfighter Outfitters president Brett Miller, it costs about $150 per day to send a group of four veterans down one of the region's rivers for a fishing trip. So a relatively modest donation can do a lot.
Miller told The Nugget that he's got steelhead trips booked in coming months but doesn't have the cash to fund them, so donations are needed.
Since Warfighter Outfitters is a completely volunteer nonprofit, donations go directly to serving the injured veterans.
"Every single cent of that money goes to operations," Miller said.
There is a PayPal button on the website at www.war
fighteroutfitters.org, or you can make a donation at U.S. Bank in Sisters.
Warfighter Outfitters is leading an elk hunt for injured military veterans later this month - and generous donations are making the expedition in Sisters Country possible.
Brett Miller, president of the Sisters-based nonprofit, holds the guide permits for the hunt. A camp will be established in Sisters Country October 16-24, and Miller is also looking for volunteer camp cooks for breakfasts and dinners, and for volunteers to make grocery runs and deliveries.
The camp has been outfitted in large part by a grant from the outdoor recreation retailer Cabela's.
"Cabela's has really stepped up," Miller told The Nugget. "They've given basically a $3,000-a-year product grant."
That grant covered a 15-by-27-foot outfitter's tent. That's important because it "enables all the veterans to be under one roof during hunting season instead of having to provide their own tent," Miller explained.
Local donors have also stepped up.
Hoyt's Hardware & Building Supply is providing the lumber to finish off the tent setup, and Sisters Ace Hardware donated cookware and tent carpet. Robinson & Owen Heavy Construction offered up a Honda generator; Takoda's will provide pizza; Three Creeks Brewing Co. will provide beverages and Cork Cellars will provide wine.
Warfighter Outfitters is all about veterans helping other veterans. The organization has an all-veteran board, and Miller himself is a wounded Iraq War veteran. Veterans who have suffered serious injuries - some of them disabling - and post-traumatic stress benefit greatly from getting out on the water to fish and into the woods for some hunting.
Warfighter Outfitters has developed equipment and protocols to mitigate disabilities to get veterans out doing what they love. The idea is to get them to where they can pursue their hunting on their own.
"The guys just love being outside, being in a hunting camp," Miller said. "It feels like an operation to them."
The camaraderie of a hunting camp or a drift boat trip is therapeutic. Veterans feel comfortable among others who have had similar experiences and faced similar dangers and difficulties - and they tend to open up.
"Half that magic happens around the poker table or the campfire," Miller says.
For that reason, Miller seeks to keep the experience "as all-veteran as possible."
Miller also told The Nugget that an anonymous donor from the East Coast paid for a set of truck tracks for Warfighter Outfitters' Jeep, which will allow Miller to take wheelchair-bound veterans ice-fishing and out for spring bear-hunting.
For an in-depth look at the work of Warfighter Outfitters, go to Youtube and search for the 15-minute documentary video "Warfighter Outfitters - Goin' Down the Madison." For more information visit www.warfighteroutfitters.org and www.facebook.com/warfighteroutfitters.
To inquire about donating or volunteering for camp cooking duty email firstname.lastname@example.org.