- Posted September 17, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Salute to troops
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- Local Wounded Warriors to Show Support at Rock for Troops 4 - Event at Trackside Station in East Stroudsburg This Friday
- 2002 Stroudsburg Graduate Accomplishes Dream Week of 10-Year Class Reunion - Hopscotch Hill School House Opens Its Doors
Wounded Soldier receives vehicle to aid with outdoor activities
Gennady Vovchuk was an avid outdoorsman before sustaining injuries in Iraq that caused him to medically retire from service with the U.S. Army.
The Long Pond, Pa., native has undergone multiple corrective surgeries however he is still confined to a wheelchair 95 percent of his days and often requires help from his service dog, Rocky.
Vovchuk obtained a vehicle hunting permit from the state of Pennsylvania because his movement is restricted. He is unable to walk more than 30 yards at a time.
After hearing how this wounded warrior wanted to get back into the woods and involve his two sons in hunting, a local veteran took action.
Eric Kowal, owner of Semper Fi Marketing, knew Vovchuk through an event he organizes annually, the Marines Helping Marines Fishing Tournament for wounded warriors. It was there that the two veterans began talking in May of this year and Kowal sprung into action.
“It was literally a day or two after our bass fishing tournament that I started to solicit the help of others so we could help this warrior out,” Kowal said. “We found an off-road vehicle that we could purchase and then modify to his needs but first we had to raise some funds.”
Once Kowal reached out, companies from all over the United States started lending a hand, such as the Nauti Goose Saloon in North East, Md., Jersey Shore Tactical of Brick, N.J., Enterprise Holdings of Wayne, N.J., Semper Fi Vacations & Cruise Planners of Charlotte, N.C. and Tango’s Tavern in Virginia Beach. Private donors also contributed through a crowd funding site called IndieGoGo.
The vehicle cost was $3,000 and is large enough for Vovchuk and his two sons to all fit comfortably in an enclosed cab.
An electronic wheelchair lift was donated by Jim Donnies RV Service Center in Glen Burnie, Md., and later installed by Pocono 4 Wheel Drive in Stroudsburg, Pa.
Dozens of hunting accessories were collected and donated to include a muzzle loader, arrows, ear and eye protection, and more.
“I would like to thank everyone involved with the fundraiser for the UTV, as well as off the gear and equipment that was donated to my family and myself,” Vovchuk said.
“This means more to us than I can express in words. Because of my injuries I could no longer leave my truck to go and hunt. I can only stand for short periods of time. Since 2009 my life has changed when I was injured. I have had to adapt my life around what I can, and cannot do. This vehicle will now allow me to do what I love most get out into the woods, and hunt more often,” he said.
“Last year I only went hunting once harvesting a doe. This year with the help of Semper Fi Marketing and Hunters Helping Heroes I went on a successful Turkey hunt. I will now be able to do this on my own. Thank you so much for what you have done from the bottom of my heart.”
The group is still looking for a trailer that Vovchuk can use to hook up to his truck and haul the vehicle around. If anyone has a landscaping type trailer that they can donate or sell at a reduced cost please contact Semper Fi Marketing at email@example.com