HARRISBURG, Pa. -- An organization at the Great American Outdoor Show makes it possible for veterans with disabilities to get outside.
LEEK Hunting and Mountain Preserve gives disabled veterans the opportunity to get out and about and do what they loved before being injured.
"We’ve had quadriplegics, various amputees, PTSD,” said Jack Knouse, a volunteer with LEEK. “We’ve had some older veterans like agent orange exposure, stuff like that, so it’s a wide range of all ages, all wars, all services."
Volunteers like Knouse take wounded veterans to North Central Pennsylvania to hunt, fish, and be outdoors again.
"We're all a little different than the rest of the people so it’s nice to know that like the things that are wrong with you are not just the only one dealing with it,” said Brett Rogers, a veteran who volunteers with LEEK. He moved to Potter County, Pennsylvania to be closer to the program and help out.
"You know, war and combat – it’s intense, and you come back, and you know, you don't feel like you still belong, but you get all this support and you're like 'oh wow,’” said Rogers.
LEEK runs completely off donations and volunteers who take veterans out on hunting and fishing adventures.
Donated wheelchairs like this one make it possible.
This chair can go on any type of terrain, grass, gravel, you name it. Basically, it makes it possible for a disabled person to do everything they once did before they were disabled - hunt, fish.
Dennis Leonard, an Iraq war veteran, went on a LEEK crossbow hunt and says he made great connections with fellow veterans.
"You know an organization like this, that helps you get out and do stuff like that and build that bond and build that network with other guys, it’s always a good thing,” said Leonard.
LEEK takes veterans with all levels of disabilities and encourages them to focus on their abilities - helping them to recover physically and emotionally.
Donations made to LEEK Hunting and Mountain Preserve go to materials and items which make the hunts and outdoor excursions possible. Volunteers are unpaid. You can visit LEEK's website: http://www.leekpreserve.org. for more information about the outdoor excursions or to donate to LEEK.