Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation

WWIA’s Camp Hackett garners conservation support

Seth Carlson

For injured veterans returning from war, re-integration to a civilian life can prove a daunting task. Medication, doctor visits, insurance, and employment responsibilities can pile up quick. Often times, support for America’s returned is left to fellow veterans, and Wounded Warriors in Action (WWIA) is a non-profit organization of servicemen and women who do just that.

Founded by retired Army officer John McDaniel in 2007, the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation works to promote healing for Purple Heart recipients through a variety of outdoor sporting events. The WWIA’s mission statement declares: “There is no greater healing potential than connecting with nature and pursuing great achievements both afield and on the water.”

This year, the WWIA’s Camp Hackett in Phillips was selected by sportsmen’s magazine publication Field and Stream to participate in the magazine’s Hero for a Day program. The program, in its second year, connects volunteers with hands-on conservation workdays across the country.

The conservation effort at the camp took place Saturday, April 28, and featured local volunteers donating time and training to WWIA members in conservation efforts such as planting trees and properly clearing wildlife trails at the camp.

“This is going to be ground zero,”

said McDaniel. “We are working to build an ADA-compliant, eco-friendly, disability-accessible lodge at this location.” The planned lodge is meant to serve WWIA members during whitetail deer and grouse hunts at the 360-acre camp.

McDaniel went on to specify that the lodge is planned to be a 3,500 square foot common area with a bunkhouse built next to it. The lodge will feature non-traditional healing by means of psychotherapy, massage, and a therapeutic pool and will be a year ‘round facility.

“Build it and they will come,” said McDaniel. “I see a crucial need for mental and spiritual healing in the combat wounded veteran population, and I’ve seen how sporting activities in the great outdoors can meet this need.”

The WWIA foundation has facilitated 43 events in 26 states in its five-year existence. Since 2007 there have been between 10 to 15 veterans using the camp property, primarily for bow hunting whitetail.

“Our certified master guides are all combat wounded heroes. This place is for American heroes, American sportsmen,” said McDaniel.