The sixth annual Benelli USA Invitational raised a record amount of $100,000 for Freedom Hunters—a group that supports outdoor opportunities for combat veterans, active-duty military personnel and military families. The in-person shooting event pivoted to an online format due to COVID-19, but donations from industry partners, an online action, the Benelli Match Donation and other events combined to generate the funds.
“Breaking the fundraising record without hosting an on-site event is a testament to the resiliency of the American people and their willingness to step in to help those in need,” said Benelli USA General Manager Tom DeBolt. “Despite not having the shoot, great food, friendly competition and the comradery that comes with a normal event, we were still able to create a new benchmark in fundraising. We would like to thank all of those who contributed both items for auction and monetarily, and also the ones who put in the hard work to pull this together during these challenging times.”
The annual event normally takes place at Prince George’s County Trap and Skeet Center in Glenn Dale, MD. Industry partners sponsor shooting teams and provide gear and adventures for the auction. The previous year’s event brought in $85,000 for Freedom Hunters. Benelli USA will present Freedom Hunter Founder and CEO Anthony Pace with a check for $100,000 to continue their mission of honoring those who protect the citizens of the United States.
“Without any doubt, having partners in the outdoor industry has helped Freedom Hunters honor more of our nation's finest with hunting, shooting, and fishing trips,” said Anthony Pace, founder and CEO of Freedom Hunters.
“The pandemic may have taken away the opportunity to get together in-person at the Benelli USA Invitational, but it did not take away Benelli USA’s commitment to our warriors. The isolation and uncertainty that COVID brings has escalated the veteran suicide numbers 20-30 percent from an already epidemic rate of 22 veterans per day. Funds raised by Benelli give our warriors hope and purpose through therapeutic outdoor adventures and frankly saves lives. We cannot thank Benelli USA enough for their commitment to our mission and more importantly to heroes and their families.”