Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation

Pig Roast Helps Wounded Warriors

Jaime Cone

At Wilderness Bed & Breakfast in Newfield May 21, local organizers of Wounded Warriors in Action held a pig roast to raise money for the group’s second hunting trip. Last year the B & B, located on 21 secluded acres, hosted a group of veterans who enjoyed a few days of hunting and good food, and WWIA is looking forward to doing it again this winter.

Andy Hartenstein, owner of Wilderness Bed and Breakfast in Newfield, offered her pavilion overlooking the B&B’s pond as a scenic venue. Last year the five veterans came from all over the country – Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Fort Drum. They stayed at the B&B the first week in December and had a successful weekend of bowhunting: They ended up getting two bucks and a doe.

Cook said the sound of gunshots can trigger post traumatic stress disorder, so they used bow and arrows instead. Each veteran was accompanied by a guide. Wounded Warriors in Action is a national organizations founded in 2009 and is not affiliated with the Wounded Warriors Project.

Members of the organization are “big believers in outdoor recreation helping the fellows, especially those with traumatic brain injuries,” said Carol Cook, organizer of the hunting trip. WWIA also plans activities like fishing trips, mountain climbing excursions, and even alligator and wild pig hunts.

“It gives them a chance to be in peace and quiet and to have some solitude and to just think,” Cook said.

The men decided to split the meat among themselves so everyone could take some home. Tops supermarket in Watkins Glen processed the deer meat, and Hartenstein, owner of the Wilderness B&B, packaged fresh layers of venison in between layers of frozen meat to keep it cool during their plane rides home.

Hartenstein said she enjoyed getting to know the veterans. The experience gave her a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women. “There was one big guy, and he was really the jokester of the group, and come to find out he had been on suicide watch when he came back from overseas,” she said. “So they’ve really been through a lot. He said this was just wonderful.”

At the pig roast, Cook also had a 50/50 raffle with items donated from local business. To complete the festive event, Julianne Wrolstad of Hula Hut Polynesian Dance performed with four of her students. She teaches the hula and traditional dances from Tahiti and New Zealand, giving lessons at the Just Because Center on State Street in Ithaca. When she heard that her friend was planning a pig roast as a fundraiser, it seemed natural that she and Cook team up for a luau-themed event. “In this way were able to help,” she said.

For more information on Wounded Warriors in Action, visit www.wwiaf.org.

For more information about Hula Hut, visit www.hulahut.org or visit their booth on Cayuga Street at Ithaca Festival June 3 and 4.