Longmeadow, MA (November 20, 2012) Honored American Veterans Afield [HAVA] and the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) co-hosted a day of shooting, prizes, family fun, food and fellowship for nearly 300 disabled veterans and injured active duty military and their families at the SAPD Training Academy last week. Supported by volunteers from both organizations plus SAPD Explorers, Marines, VFW and Texas National Guard personnel, these honored American Heroes enjoyed the day with family and friends, shot some of the latest 3-gun products and inspected the Marine Corp's current vehicles and weapons. One of the day's highlights was a fly-in by a SAPD helicopter delivering an American flag flown over both Iraq and Afghanistan military posts to a SAPD Cadet color guard and the singing of the National Anthem by Mandy Dennis.
"The commitment of SAPD Academy Commander, Captain James Flavin and the men and women of the SAPD Training Academy was vital to the delivery of this meaningful day of service as HAVA speaks for the shooting sports industry, and all Americans, in thanking these wounded warriors for their valor. Warrior's families serve as well in the defense of freedom and it is our privilege to support the entire military family in rebuilding their confidence in the future through active participation in outdoor sports", said Tom Taylor, HAVA Chairman. "These warriors' commitment to America's defense was un-wavering during their service and HAVA is committed to their support. With the help of the SAPD and all of the San Antonio based military community, we will continue to increase our service to these deserving families who were all-in when their nation called".
"We at SAPD could not be more pleased with our new partnership with HAVA in hosting these American heroes and their families - and in making a real difference in their lives", said Chief Bill McManus of the SAPD. "Since many of our officers are former military, we are keenly aware of the family sacrifices associated with military service and are delighted to add our resources to this critical cause. We see the HAVA/SAPD partnership as part of our outreach program to thousands of San Antonio military families and a statement of our support for those who have defended our way of life. This first event in our new relationship was extremely gratifying to us and we hope that it will continue in future years."
The HAVA/SAPD National Family Day was an all-day affair with activities featuring exhibitions by world-class professional shooters Jerry and Lena Miculek, B.J. Norris, Tate Moots, James Darst and Trevor Baucom, himself a disabled veteran. Three meals were served, each warrior received a gift bag of outdoor products, and many participants won raffle prizes worth $200-$1000 that were contributed by various HAVA sponsors from the shooting sports industry. Each of the attending children under 14 years of age received safe shooting instruction and a dog tag for accomplishment. Each child participated in an air soft "tactical" shooting course and every youngster in attendance also won a raffle prize. Over 200 warriors and their spouses participated in 6 live-fire pistol/rifle/shotgun shooting stages and 9 outstanding shooters received the coveted "Top Gun" red HAVA cap denoting their accomplishment under Lewis system rules. The live-fire stages' focus was on safety (and fun) and each shooter was supervised one-on-one by a qualified range officer. Next year's event, already in the planning stage, is expected to draw an increased number of participants from San Antonio area military hospitals, Warrior Transition Battalions and area disabled veterans.
HAVA is a 501(c)3 organization formed by companies in the shooting and outdoor industry with the purpose of raising awareness and further assisting disabled veterans with their healing process through guided hunts, shooting events and other outdoor sports activities. The sustaining sponsor companies are Smith & Wesson, NSSF, Mossberg, Yamaha Outdoors, Crimson Trace, Leupold & Stevens, Surefire, Hornady, Ruger, XS Sights, Barrett, Sig Sauer and FMG Publications among numerous contributing companies. Those who would like to learn more about the HAVA organization can do so at www.honoredveterans.org.
The San Antonio Police Department consists of over 2,300 officers dedicated to improving the quality of life for the people of San Antonio by creating a safe environment in partnership with the people they serve. They act with integrity to reduce fear and crime while treating all with respect, compassion and fairness. Learn more at www.sanantonio.gov/sapd.aspx.