There is a story that I was made aware of, about a young man who lived an exemplary life. From a young age, this man was athletic, participating in track, boxing, and wrestling. Having been raised by his grandfather, who was well versed in hunting, he got involved in hunting and fishing at a young age. By the age of 12, he saved enough money to buy a game rifle, and under the supervision of his grandfather, he brought down his first deer.
As I learned about this man, it was apparent that he was a wonderful young man with a wonderful relationship with his grandfathe
During a Boy Scout event in the woods of the Pacific Northwest when he was just 14-years-old, this young man’s life changed. He was driving an ATV 4-wheeler when he lost control and hit a tree head-on. In the accident, he broke his back in three places, and was paralyzed from his mid-chest down. Due to this, he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
I would like you to take a minute to close your eyes and think about that for a few moments. Think about how difficult it would be to have a positive outlook on life. It is difficult to imagine a future that could be filled with anything other than pain, sorrow and “what-ifs.” It takes a strong support system and faith to move into your new reality. Things that you enjoyed doing and passions that you had are no more, but in order to move forward, you have to realize that there are more amazing events in your life. These are the emotions that are faced by many, men and women all over the world, and the reality is that many e who experience tragedies like thes are in their prime age of life.
Fortunately, the subject in this story had a strong and understanding grandfather who was also a man of faith and perseverance. In an effort to help his struggling grandson, he discovered a Wyoming group that did volunteer hunting trips for physically handicapped individuals. He and his grandson participated with that group for two years before creating a Springville, Utah organization to serve a wide range of handicapped people.
The organizers applied for and received IRS 501(C )(3) approval as a non-profit all volunteer organization to receive tax-deductible donations to support its mission of helping wheelchair bound and others with disabilities to have outdoor adventures. That organization is the Chairbound Sportsman Organization, and it is now 12 years old.
Last year, the organization provided 30 big game hunts, 75 small game hunts and fishing trips for 72 handicapped individuals. In addition, 20 people were involved in organized target practice events, 175 people attended the annual fundraising dinner, and 125 attended the holiday dinner.
The motto of the Chairbound Sportsman organization is “Making the Outdoors Possible.” It all came about because of a paralyzed 14-year-old boy 20 years ago. This is an example of a tragedy that has become a marvelously beneficial organization for many. That 14-year-old boy is now a 34-year-old, happily married father of a healthy 2-year-old boy.
That 14-year-old boy is Kenneth Vaughn III (Kenny), and he recently won the Utah Governor’s “Spirit of Service” award for his support of the Chairbound Sportsman’s webmaster, board member, and graphics designer. He has also helped organize events, dinners and fundraisers.
For those who would like to make a donation, go to their website at www.chairboundsportsman.org for more information.