The Montana chapter of Safari Club International has teamed up with Billings Kubota to donate an all-weather recreational terrain vehicle (RTV) and a check for $3,900 to No Person Left Behind Outdoors, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing hunting and other recreational opportunities to U.S. veterans awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
“We are grateful to all our veterans, and we’re excited to make this donation,” said Montana SCI Chapter President Tex Janecek. “This vehicle will help Purple Heart veterans gain access to Montana’s hunting areas and to have those enjoyable hunting experiences that we all love.”
The vehicle, a Kubota RTV-X1100C emblazoned with the SCI logo, is an enclosed, all-weather, two-person recreational terrain vehicle. Brian Cebull, a member of the Montana SCI board of directors, and his wife Amy are co-contributors to the donation, as is Billings Kubota.
In addition to the RTV, Montana SCI donated $3,900 to No Person Left Behind; the money was raised at the annual Montana SCI dinner and auction in March 2019. It will be used to fund a hunt in fall 2019 for two wounded veterans.
Hank Tuell, an event coordinator with No Person Left Behind Outdoors, is a 30-year Army veteran who flew MEDEVAC helicopters in Vietnam. He helps select the hunting candidates, and he accompanies them as a guide on their Montana adventures.
“A lot of these veterans are double- or even triple-amputees,” said Tuell, “Sometimes they think their hunting days are behind them. When we take them out to get a mule deer or an elk, they really get excited. Some of them have never hunted any game that big.”
Tuell usually coordinates three or four No Person Left Behind hunts each year. The hunts take place in the Fishtail/Nye area, and also on private land near Hardin. The veterans can be from any U.S. state. Each hunter spends a day on the shooting range and then four days hunting. Almost all the meals and lodging are provided via donations to No Person Left Behind and licenses and permits are obtained through the MFWP wounded veterans program.
Each veteran goes hunting with one of the NPLB volunteer guides , plus a couple of support people who take care of medical and logistical issues. Tuell said the Kubota RTV’s enclosed cabin will make a difference in the comfort level for the hunters. “Amputees will often have issues with extreme temperatures,” he said. “The enclosed cabin will help us keep them comfortable and in good health.”
The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to U.S. military personnel wounded or killed in action against an enemy of the United States. The No Person Left Behind Outdoors website is www.nplboutdoors.org. The Montana Chapter of Safari Club International is one of 180 SCI chapters in the US and around the world. SCI is a not-for-profit organization of hunters whose primary missions are to protect the freedom to hunt and to promote wildlife conservation.