Wounded Warriors Reconnect Through the Great Outdoors

St Joe Channel
Melinda Barrett

While hunting season is in full swing, a nationwide foundation dedicated to the healing of Purple Heart recipients held its annual MO-KAN Ducks and Bucks hunting event in northwest Missouri. 

Spending a day in the duck blind is a bird hunter's paradise, but to these American sportsmen, it's more than just a recreational activity. It's a landscape for healing.

"You can't get this kind of therapy from a hospital, you can't get it from the VA. There's only one place, and it's a very special thing when our heroes reconnect with nature," said John McDaniel, founder of Wounded Warriors in Action.

John McDaniel retired from the military after 20 years of service.

And now, he connects Purple Heart recipients from all over the nation through his foundation Wounded Warriors in Action.

"These heroes get to be together. There's a lot of good peer to peer contact and mentoring that happens," said McDaniel.

"Just really neat to get back with guys, and get involved with guys that know what you're going through and feel the same way you do," said Jake Whipkey, Wounded Warrior.

Since 2007, Wounded Warriors has been bringing together wounded veterans through the great outdoors. A day spent duck hunting leaves a lasting impact on their life.

"You're out here for one day, and you've never met these guys before, but all of a sudden they're like your best friend," said Whipkey.

A feeling of camaraderie that can easily be taken for granted.

But as Purple Heart recipients, it's experiences like these that re-instill a sense of belonging. "The Purple Heart recipients are a special lot, they are the real wounded warriors," said McDaniel.

This was the third annual MO-KAN Ducks and Bucks hunting event.

Wounded Warriors in Action has 50 operations throughout the United States that host similar outdoor gaming activities.

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