ERIE, Colo. CBS4) – A special group of veterans received a well-deserved helping hand on Saturday in Erie as the nonprofit group “Outdoor Buddies” hosted 25 disabled veterans, and others, at a shooting range.
For some veterans it was a life-changing event.
“It will bring a tear to your eye,” Don Pickett said.
Saturday morning target practice was held in Erie.
“It’s a very emotional shoot for everybody,” Pete Labella said.
The Green Mill Sportsman Club opened up its facilities to the 25 special shooters — wounded warriors like Conner Dowsett.
“It’s a lot of fun to be out there with either just friends and family and just relaxing,” Dowsett said.
The Navy veteran is a quadriplegic after a diving accident while on active duty. Outdoor Buddies fitted Dowsett with a special rifle mounted on a wheel chair. The device allows Dowsett to blow through a straw to pull the trigger.
“I take a little pride knowing I can hit something from 200 yards with no arms and no legs,” he said.
Outdoor Buddies helps disabled vets like Dowsett and others get out of the house and experience the outdoors again, whether it’s fishing, boating or hunting.
“We enjoy seeing people do things they weren’t able to do before,” said Richard Cori, director of Outdoor Buddies.
Cori is also partially paralyzed. He says seeing American heroes like Dowsett smile again makes it all worthwhile.
“I was there when he first got to shoot a rifle with that device that he he has on his chair. That feeling for me is just joy,” Cori said.
“What these guys do to is come up here, I’m sure, it’s going to open up a few eyes,” Labella said. “The gentlemen that shoot up here in wheelchairs and missing limbs , I just feel I can’t do enough for them.”
On this Saturday in Erie men like Dowsett , who have sacrificed so much for their country, forgot their troubles thanks to a special group of volunteers,
“I absolutely love it,” Dowsett said. “It’s just good people doing good things.”
Cabelas and the Green Mill Sportsman’s Club helped sponsor the event.
To learn more and help Outdoor Buddies, visit outdoorbuddies.org.