Lone Star Warriors Outdoors (LSWO) was founded in 2012 by Retired Army and Combat Veteran Chris Gill and United States Marine Combat Veteran Ed Schmidt. For years, both have hunted, fished and worked with non-profit organizations offering outdoor adventures to Wounded Warriors. They decided to create a program focused on hunting and fishing while trying to say “thank you” to every Wounded Warrior out there. The mission of LSWO is “to say “Thank You” to our Nation’s combat Wounded and Injured Warriors who have sacrificed mind and body in the fight on terrorism by providing a fun and relaxing atmosphere while reconnecting or teaching the American tradition of hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.”

  LSWO believes “these men and women are our Nation’s most treasured asset and we need to say Thank You to them in any way possible. By taking our warriors hunting and fishing, we help to promote confidence and promote healing and a sense of belonging. Many of our warriors believe the American people do not care; they hear it but do not see it.” The LSWO organization asks you to help them to honor these modern day heroes today. In addition to saying “Thank You” to our Wounded Warriors by taking them on these hunts, LSWO has another focus. They strive to not only reconnect individuals with the love of the outdoors they enjoyed prior to their injury but also to introduce the sport of hunting to those that have never experienced it. “There is nothing better than sitting in a blind with an individual that has never hunted and watching him harvest his first deer. Additionally, it is a time to remind those who have hunted and teach those who have not hunted that they can have fun holding a weapon. A weapon or rifle does not have to only be a tool of war, but also a tool for sport.”

  Chris Gill spent just under 25 years in the Army before retirement and was injured in Afghanistan in 2005. After his release from Active Duty, he was part of a program called Show of Support. Chris says, “This program meant so much to me that I have returned each year to shoot video and simply help to give back to the new participants to help them have the same if not better experience that I did.” Co-Founder and Vice-President Ed Schmidt was also injured during his time in the Marine Corps, while serving in Somalia, Rwanda and Kuwait. Between the two of them and their Board of Directors, they share the same goal of helping to say “Thank You” to our service men and women, especially those injured in combat.

LSWO wants to say to all veterans who read this, “Thank You, For Your Service! It is because of you that we are free today. Because of your sacrifice Lone Star Warriors Outdoors, a Texas based non-profit organization (LSWO) is offering Hunts and Fishing trips throughout the year. This is our way to say Thank You for your physical and mental sacrifices to our freedom and country.” To be selected for a LSWO hunt or fishing trip, you need to visit their website at www.lonestarwarriorsoutdoors.com and download an application. They state this application is important for several reasons. “Some of the ranches want to know who is coming and would like a bio from you so they know a little about you when you get there… The application allows us to know more about you, your medical needs, limitations and hunting experience.” Applicants who are still active MUST have a doctor’s signature on the application stating that you are cleared to hunt. Without the doctor’s signature, they cannot accept your application. “If you have never been a part of a program like this, you are missing something!”

  When asked about the future of Lone Star Warriors Outdoors, they have the following to say:

“Among the five board members, we have some great ideas and a great vision of where we want to take this program and what we want to offer in the near future. We need your help, though, to make this happen. To be successful, we need financial donations as well as hunting opportunities. We have several land owners who have stepped up to offer hunts for our wounded military, ranging from Whitetail to Exotic hunts. Our goal is to have 4 Exotic hunts a year and 4-6 Whitetail hunts a year, as well as a duck hunt or two and a couple of fishing trips. Each warrior is eligible for one hunt a year as we want to thank as many as possible. This is our goal, but we need your help. I am excited to see how this program will grow and where it will be next year.”

LSWO is always looking for locations where they can take three to five warriors at a time to hunt or fish. While many inquire about these opportunities, not all follow through. Chris added, “If you have ever hosted warriors, you will know the joy you have from it. You will see the bond that they make with each other and the bond they make with you. For the first time in a long time these warriors are free, free of hospitals and free of people looking at them and wondering what happened…” LSWO also wants you to know:

The other great advantage is that by offering a hunt you are actually helping many of them recover. The biggest injury to the modern warrior is physiological, PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is something that many will live with for the rest of their life, but one way to get better is to talk about what they went through, and when they get together, they do. They will laugh at some stories and cry at others, but during this time they are healing, getting things out that they have held in for so long. That happens only when they are brought together in a relaxing atmosphere such as a hunting camp.

The largest requirement facing Lone Star Warriors Outdoors is lodging. They say what they really need is a location. If you want to host warriors and have the land and/or lodging available, please contact LSWO and let them know what you have to offer. “Some of the considerations that we are looking for are lodging, is food included, are you set up for wheelchairs, and maybe terrain. Terrain is important to know as when the guys are selected we need to know who to look for. If you have a location with a lot of large rocks, then we have to rule out wheel chairs, crutches and possibly canes.”

  Their applicants not only enjoy hunting, many are equally excited about receiving an opportunity to go fishing. If you can provide these Warriors with an opportunity to get out there and enjoy a day or weekend on the water, please let them know what you have available so a deserving Veteran can take advantage of what you or your organization have to offer.

  The organization is run by a five member, all-volunteer board. This allows Lone Star Warriors Outdoors to maximize the use of donations to serve our veterans. In contrast with other organizations who may serve Veterans in some capacity but whose budget is primarily used to cover fundraising and other administrative costs, LSWO has no paid staff. Over 99% of your donations go back to our warriors. While the 501c3 application has been filed, donations are not considered charitable donations at this time. At the time of Non-Profit acceptance, it will include all donations from the day the organization was formed, which means that anything given will eventually be considered a tax deductible donation. In the interim, funds are still needed to get these warriors out in the woods or on the lake so any size donation is appreciated.  

  Once selected the Warriors do not pay for anything. LSWO covers all costs associated with the trip; and there are many aspects to coordinating these trips. Transportation and fuel costs must also be taken into consideration and funded. One trip to South Texas can cost upwards of $600.00 per individual after renting a van and paying for gas and meals during travel. Upon arrival at the destination, LSWO covers ammunition, food for three days, drinks and anything else needed that the ranch does not provide. A normal hunt with lodging without additional necessary purchases will cost around $2,000.00. “In most cases, the Warriors we take are residents of the state of Texas or they are still on Active Duty. For these participants, we do not need a hunting license, but for everyone who is not a resident of the State of Texas or on active duty status we pay for a hunting/fishing license.” Through the generosity and support of those who donate and sponsor the Warriors, LSWO will continue to grow and provide even more opportunities for us to show our appreciation.

  Lone Star Warriors Outdoors has no paid members and no expenses. Therefore, 99% of your donation goes directly to helping Wounded Warriors. For additional information and for an application, please visit www.lonestarwarriorsoutdoors.com, call 903.253.5604, or find them on Facebook. If you would like to donate, please send checks to:

Lone Star Warriors Outdoors

Attn: Chris Gill

112 Hummingbird Lane

Whitehouse, Texas 75791

 

From Participants in LSWO:

“I would like to thank Lone Star Warriors Outdoors, for the wonderful opportunity this last weekend. The hunt was a very relaxing and enjoyable one. However this was like no other hunting experience I’ve ever had. I was surrounded by very caring Christian people that were always there to talk, and all night if need be. This weekend was a healing step for sure.

And once again thanks to everyone involved. ”

Eric Smith, SFC United States Army (ret)

 

“This was an unforgettable weekend. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this hunt. I will never forget my time, the great people and the Texas spirit that I saw this weekend. You are what America is about. Thank you!”

United States Marine – Dallas, Texas

 

 

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