After beginning his recovery from wounds received during Operation Enduring Freedom, 1st Lt. Kyle Burns of Ft. Benning, Ga., became determined to one day walk through the woods and hunt with his father again. On Tuesday, April 1, Burns will do just that.
Weston and Jodi Clark, owners of Higher Ground Outfitters and hosts of Outdoor Channel’s “Higher Ground Outdoors (Pursuing the Heart of America),” along with Harold Knight and David Hale of Knight & Hale Game Calls, will guide Burns and his father during the hunt just outside of Nashville, Tenn. Burns received the three-day, all-expenses-paid dream turkey-hunting trip during a patriotic breakfast sponsored by Federal Premium Ammunition at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s annual Convention and Sport Show in Atlanta.
“Jodi and I love to surprise hard-working men and women who have faced adversity and have persevered with a champion spirit,” said Weston Clark. “We locate these true American heroes by asking our viewers to nominate the hero in their life and give the winners their dream hunt completely free of charge. It really speaks to their passion.”
For Burns, hunting has been a lifelong passion– one he gave up after getting wounded in Afghanistan, and one he looked forward to reclaiming.
“I’ve celebrated a number of milestones during my recovery, and one of the greatest was the day I could hunt with my father again,” Burns said. “It was an emotional day. Words can’t even express my gratitude at winning this hunt, and the fact that I’ll get to share this experience with my dad is just unbelievable.”
Burns, who is a member of the NWTF’s River City Gobblers Chapter in Columbus, Ga., attended the national convention to help pass out commemorative pins to Purple Heart recipients who attended the NWTF’s Veteran’s breakfast. Being called up on stage and surprised with the hunt encouraged Burns, and Weston Clark believes viewers will feel the same upon hearing Burns’ story.
“Kyle’s positive attitude and zeal for life will touch our viewers’ hearts,” Clark said. “They will be inspired.”
Burns earned the Silver Star, the military’s third-highest award given for valor, for his leadership and distinguished service as a Platoon Leader in Afghanistan. He is now stationed at Fort Benning as part of the Army’s B Company Warrior Transition Battalion continuing his recovery.
Each year during the National Convention and Sport Show, the NWTF features events with patriotic entertainment and holds a Veteran’s Breakfast, sponsored by Winchester/Olin, to recognize America’s veterans and military heroes with commemorative pin presentations to service members and speakers who focus on veteran’s issues.