JUNCTION CITY, Wis (WSAW) -- Over the weekend the United Special Sportsman Alliance (USSA) held its annual Junction City Turkey Hunt event at George W. Mead Wildlife Area. This was the 13th year the USSA held the event and organizers say more than 150 people have participated since 2006.
“Our goal is to give people with disabilities the opportunity to do something that they aren’t normally able to do,” explained John Haydock, the Wisconsin representative to the USSA. “A lot of times these are things they might not have been able to do on their own.”
Thanks to generous donations and sponsorships throughout the year, those selected to participate do not have to pay for anything and could come from throughout the county. This year, 15 people were able to come and at least nine of them harvested a turkey by Sunday.
“Not everyone has this opportunity, but it is amazing if you get to do it,” stated Laura Kowalski who was able to participate this year and harvested her first turkey. “This was a crazy fun experience.”
Both volunteers and participants believe this teambuilding activity allows those who have a disability to increase their self-confidence.
“I only have one arm,” described Chance Ermeling, who relies on his electric wheelchair for transportation. “If I can still hunt, so can you.”
Ermeling was one of the lucky few who also harvested his first turkey and this was his first hunting experience. At first, he said he was nervous and was unsure how someone in his condition could hunt; but thanks to the USSA he was one of the first people to take down a turkey.
“The USSA will find a way to get you to do whatever the activity is. It doesn’t matter what your disability may be,” added Ermeling.
The event is targeted towards all ages and anyone could sign up to participate or volunteer. For more information, visit https://childswish.org/.