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Fear & Loading: Disabled Teaching Disabled at the Firing Line

Fear & Loading: Disabled Teaching Disabled at the Firing Line

The Learn to Shoot Again (LTSA) division of Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) and the Travis Mills Foundation (TMF) recently completed their first two-day disabled shooter training event at the Boy Scouts of America Camp Bomazeen in Belgrade, Maine. Nine critically injured combat veteran students with various amputations, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders attended the course. The LTSA instructors who provided training have a unique perspective on the challenges faced by critically injured warriors, because they are also severely disabled veterans.

“Disabled veterans teaching other disabled veterans that they can still actively participate in outdoor activities like shooting, and that their determination is the key to success are powerful lessons that can mean happiness and fulfillment to these American heroes and their families,” said Tom Taylor, HAVA chairman.

The Travis Mills Foundation, inspired by quadruple amputee, combat veteran and featured speaker Travis Mills, sent participants and volunteers to complete the event cadre, which taught adaptive shooter techniques and life lessons of determination and perseverance. The complimentary messages of LTSA and TMF—which stress disabled veteran active participation and tenacity—is an inspirational lesson that will benefit all disabled veterans at future co-sponsored events. Supported by Operation Hat Trick, SIG Sauer and Academi, Corp, the two charities are planning an active year together in 2020.

HAVA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed by companies in the shooting and outdoor industry with the purpose of raising awareness and further assisting disabled veterans with their healing process through guided hunts, shooting events and other outdoor sports. Sustaining sponsor companies include Smith & Wesson, National Shooting Sports Foundation, SIG Sauer, Academi, Arnold Defense, Crimson Trace, E3 Training, FMG Publications, GLOCK, Hornady, Leapers/UTG, Leupold & Stevens, Mossberg, National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, Operation Hat Trick, Ruger, Savage, SureFire, Taurus, Vista Outdoor/Federal, XS Sights, and Yamaha Outdoors among numerous contributing companies.

TMF supports post-9/11 recalibrated veterans and their families through long-term programs that help men and women overcome physical obstacles, strengthen families and provide well-deserved rest and relaxation. The Foundation’s message is “Never Give Up. Never Quit.” The organization supports veterans through a nationally recognized retreat located in the Belgrade Lakes region, where those injured on active duty or as a result of their service to our nation—and their families—receive an all-inclusive, all expenses paid, barrier-free vacation. There they have a chance to participate in adaptive activities, bond with other veteran families and enjoy much needed rest and restoration in Maine’s outdoors.


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