In 1972, Robin Clark, then 16, had just finished a long, hard day of mowing and decided to jump into the lake to cool off. The jump resulted in his breaking the C-5 and C-6 neck vertebrae, leaving him in a wheelchair for life.
It was 10 years before he returned to his love of hunting.
Enter a relationship between Clark, the National Wild Turkey Foundation and a program called “Wheelin’ Sportsmen,” which provides opportunities for those “who experienced a life changing tragedy” yet wish not to be defined by their disability.
These folks engage in sports such as hunting turkey, deer, fowl, duck and participate in skeet shooting and fishing events.
The events are sponsored by Hevi-Shot, Zinc Calls/Avian-X, Mossy Oak Brand Camo and a group of nationally acclaimed, award winning and record holding hunters called ProStaffers engage their volunteer efforts for this cause.
For this past Saturday’s event, a turkey shoot, ProStaffers Kevin Dameron, Robert Morris and Mark Jenkins were on hand to join in the fun and camaraderie the group enjoys.
Dameron is a national record holding champion hunter.
The hunt resulted in a large turkey being bagged and tagged on the farm of Ford Becker, who donated the use of Matomo-Terra Farms for the hunt.
Additional areas for events include cooperation from the Department of Forestry, state parks and other landowners who contribute to the efforts.
Clark explained that Virginia has the largest chapter of Wheelin’ Sportsmen with about 400 members who actively attend 35-36 annual events all over Virginia.
Membership is not confined to those wheelchair bound. Many members have less visible disabilities.
Clark is quoted as saying, “Life is what you make it. Don’t let a disability stop you from living a full and active life. Join Wheelin’ Sportsman and join the fun.”