OUTDOORS: Wounded Warriors return to Whispering Pines
Charlie and Carol Buisch hosted a 2010 event at their hunting preserve, Whispering Pines Hideaway, for the extraordinary Wounded Warriors In Action Foundation. Not only did they host the upland game hunt, they donated the entire package for the special warriors.
“I had to do this again,” Charlie Buisch said during the 2011 hunt Sept. 10 at his preserve just south of Lyons. “There was no question about our involvement.”
WWIA is a program for veterans that focuses on hunting and fishing, outdoor activities that retried Army Lt. Col. John McDaniel believes are essential in the healing process of these soldiers.
The goals of the WWIA are commendable. They want to:
- Increase self-reliance.
- Bolster self-confidence.
- Enjoy the great outdoors.
- Promote spiritual healing and wellness,.
- Instill a sense of belonging to each vet that joins them for hunting or fishing experience.
McDaniel, who founded WWIA, lives in Apollo Beach, Fla. He is a veteran of Special Forces. He spends seemingly every waking moment on behalf of “his guys,” seeing that they get as many great outdoor opportunities as he can arrange and deliver.
“When I retired from the military, I decided that my personal mission would be to help veterans, McDaniel said. “I started the organization in August 2007, and WWIA’s mission — our only goal — is to get our wounded warriors back in action.
“Many great Americans throughout the history of this nation have experienced and truly believe in the tremendous healing power of the great outdoors. There is no greater healing potential than connecting with nature and pursuing great achievements both afield and on the water. Hunting and fishing provide excellent niche opportunities to assist our wounded veterans in recovering — mentally, physically and spiritually — from their war experiences.”
This year’s participants were:
u Army Staff Sgt. Paul Fritzsche, of West Jordan, Utah.
u Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Shawn Horsley, of Holly Ridge, N.C.
u Retired Army Master Sgt. Tony Wisyanski, of Naples Fla.
All three were severely wounded in battle, either in Iraq or Afghanistan, and have spent lots of time in recovery. Each was awarded the Purple Heart.
The soldiers started early Sept. 10 with gun and hunting safety classes, followed by several rounds of shooting at sporting clays with shotguns donated by Jim Reisdorf, a WWIA associate.
Reisdorf was instrumental in connecting Buisch and McDaniel last year after he watched a television program about wounded veterans experiencing an upland bird hunt.
This pheasant hunt would be a first for the wounded warriors. All three have hunted, though none had tried their skills with upland hunting.
Tane Kehlenbeck, a hunter and guide at Whispering Pines, volunteered to lead the warriors.
McDaniel describes the hunt as “a very humbling experience that is shared with real heroes. Each and every WWIA hunting or fishing event should be considered a trip of a lifetime.”
McDaniel said he limits the number of vets that experience these special adventures.
“Any specific event is generally limited to one to three individuals, with two being the most common number,” McDaniel said. “The idea is to offer a total experience, and to be effective, you need a one-on-one-type of atmosphere.”
WWIA’s various destinations would make any outdoor enthusiast envious, from trophy deer hunting in South Dakota to elk hunting in Colorado to fishing for giant tarpon and scuba diving in the Florida Keys.
Following the Sept. 10 hunt, the soldiers were treated to a game dinner that boasted such treats as pheasant stroganoff.
A day later, the three soldiers returned to the preserve for more pheasant and chucker partridge hunting. Once again, the guides and dogs performed well, allowing each of the hunters to have many shots at the flushing birds.
After the Sunday hunt the final numbers tallied 20 upland game birds felled over two days of hunting. All of the bagged birds were cleaned and frozen; they went home with the soldiers Monday afternoon.
For as long as I’ve known them, the Buisches have always been the perfect hosts. Over the years, they’ve opened the purse strings for events deemed important.
“This one is easy,” Charlie Buisch said. “These warriors gave lot of themselves in their effort to preserve liberty and freedom for me and this country. Everyone at Whispering Pines wanted to say thanks with more than just words.”
Anyone who’d like to donate to Wounded Warriors In Action Foundation can make out a check to them and send it to 6516 Dolphin Cove, Apollo Beach, FL 33572. If they include “Whispering Pines hunt” on the memo line, their donation will be dedicated to paying for this hunt.
Wounded Warriors In Action Foundation is an approved 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.