March 8, 2009
War Heroes Receive Tribute from Grateful RMEF Nation
MISSOULA, Mont.—Two disabled veterans of the Iraq War last weekend received a hero’s welcome and tribute from grateful members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
RMEF President and CEO David Allen, outdoor writer and devotee to severely injured servicemen Jim Zumbo, NASCAR’s Richard Childress, Realtree’s Bill Jordan and Dallas Cowboys legend Walt Garrison made special presentations during the Elk Foundation’s 25th annual convention, which concluded March 8 in Fort Worth, Texas.
• USMC First Lieutenant Andrew Kinard, Spartanburg, S.C./Washington D.C.
• USMC Petty Officer 2nd Class Chad Kueser, Garland, Texas/San Antonio, Texas
Both soldiers lost their legs while serving in Iraq. Kinard and three others on foot patrol in western Iraq were wounded in a blast from a buried improvised explosive device. Kueser fell to an enemy mortar round that hit the building where he worked in Tikrit.
Both endured 18 months of surgery and rehab at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Both continue to serve the U.S. military today.
And both are hunters and conservationists.
“We at the Elk Foundation often use the word ‘passion’ to describe our drive and sacrifice to protect what we love, but these guys—and thousands more like them—take the definition of that word to a level that most of us cannot comprehend,” said Allen.
He added, “The next time we exercise our freedom to hunt, venture into wild country, share the outdoors with our families and friends, or host banquets and fundraisers to raise dollars for things we believe in, let’s remember that none of our passions would be possible without the passion of our servicemen and women.”
The veterans were presented with an RMEF life membership, commemorative rifle and elk head mount. Both soldiers took bulls last fall while hunting from their wheelchairs.