The National Wild Turkey Federation

EDGEFIELD, South Carolina- To show its appreciation and support for America’s armed forces, the National Wild Turkey Federation and members of the local community welcomed more than 20 wounded soldiers from Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, to the NWTF’s headquarters in Edgefield, South Carolina, on July 29, 2008.

After a home-cooked meal provided by local volunteers and members of the R.O. Derrick Sunday School Class, the soldiers enjoyed a guided tour of the NWTF’s Wild Turkey Museum and an afternoon of catch-and-release fishing, volleyball and other activities.

The event was hosted by Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF, an outreach program that provides outdoor recreation opportunities to men and women with disabilities. Other partners in the event included Blue Star Mothers of the Lakeland/Piedmont Area, the American Legion Auxiliary, the town of Edgefield and many local volunteers.

“We’re so honored to have these brave soldiers here with us today,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton. “Offering them the opportunity to enjoy a summer afternoon of relaxation here at the NWTF is the least we can do to show our appreciation to these heroes for all the sacrifices they’ve made to keep us free.”

For 35 years, the NWTF has proudly supported the men and women in the military and their families. At the Federation’s 32nd annual Convention and Sport Show in Atlanta, Ga., this past February, a special Winchester veterans’ breakfast was held, which included speeches from Disabled American Veterans National Commander Robert Reynolds, retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Buck Bedard and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock. A similar breakfast is planned for the NWTF’s 2009 Convention and Sport Show, to be held in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 19 to Feb. 22 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

Local volunteer and Edgefield resident Jackie Jordan said the outpouring of support for the soldiers from the local community was inspiring.

“We just wanted to let these soldiers know that we care, the NWTF cares and we’re here for them,” said Jordan. “To see them out here having a good time is really what it’s all about.”

On the grassy bank of the Wild Turkey Center’s pond, a soldier relaxed while keeping a close eye on the end of his fishing rod.

“It’s nice to be out here,” he said. “We appreciate everybody having us here today and giving us the chance to unwind and have some fun.”