Story by Troy Rodakowski • Photographs courtesy of VSA
“Benefitting the most worthy among us”is the motto of the Veterans Sportsman Alliance, a small nonprofit organization which is a 100-percent volunteer program and operates primarily on donations and sponsorships. Their mission? Get injured and disabled veterans out of their houses and hospitals and into the therapeutic surroundings of the outdoors. VSAwas founded by a family in California, and has recently launched a chapter in Portland, Ore., with plans to expand into Idaho and Arizona in the near future. “We are a little different than other similar organizations because we not only believe in creating memorable adventures, but we also focus on creating a support network for our veterans by making them a part of ourVSA family,” explains Jacqueline Ess, vice president of the Oregon VSAchapter.
In May, they organized a fishing derby for 18 veterans, had a blood drive, held a raffle and put on a concert, all to help raise money for their cause. Many veterans find immense value through the therapy associated with spending time with other veterans on the water and in the field. It’s invaluable to their recovery and growth.
VSA also recently facilitatedtwo separate hunting trips this spring: a ram hunt for Jose Martinez, who is a triple amputee from combat in Afghanistan; and a hog hunt for a father and son who are both still active in the military. “TheVSA has several more hunts, fishing trips and other events planned for the year, and we look forward to making a difference in the lives of the men and women who have sacrificed so much for us,” says Ess.
For more information on VSA, visit VeteransSportsmanAlliance.org.ASJ