By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6
MORRIS, OK -- Disabled veterans now have a new place to relax and reconnect with the outdoors in the tiny town of Morris, near Okmulgee, Oklahoma. That's where a world class hunting and fishing lodge for injured vets has opened.
Anticipation and excitement greeted the visitors of the Bowman Lodge on the Lone Tree Ranch in Okmulgee County.
"I'm a Desert Storm Veteran myself," said Paul Bowman, Owner of Bowman Lodge and retired Marine.
Bowman came up with the idea two years ago for an outdoor experience that caters to wounded veterans.
"You take some guys from rural Oklahoma, or anywhere in the south, that have hunted and fished all their life, 19 or 20-years-old, come home from Iraq or Afghanistan missing both legs and blind in one eye, what are they going to do," asked Bowman.
Bowman believes the answer is outdoor activities. The 8,000 square-foot facility meets all requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lodge includes living quarters for four hunters and their guests, while the ranch is stocked with deer, turkey and fishing ponds.
"If they hunted before, I think they should continue to hunt. If they fished before, they should continue to fish and try to get back to as much of a normal life as they can to try and lessen the sacrifice because they've already sacrificed enough, obviously," said Michael Wittrock, Hunting Guide and retired Marine.
The hunters, active military or retired, will come from the Wounded Warrior Regiments for the Army and the Marine Corps. The veterans don't pay a dime. Transportation, lodging and food will be paid for by the Talley Bowman Foundation, a local non-profit that supports the Armed Forces.
"Give them all the support we possibly can long after the battle is over," said Wittrock.
"This is my way and my buddies' way of giving back to them because somebody's got to do it. This is how we take care of our brothers," said Bowman.
Bowman Lodge will initially serve disabled veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and eventually include injured vets from other conflicts.
Bowman Lodge already has three hunts planned. The first is in October, the next in November and the last scheduled hunt of this year is in December. Learn more about Bowman Lodge.