COVID-19 is particularly perilous for young Paxton Spencer, from Columbia, Mo., due to his congenital heart defect and 17 surgeries that have compromised his immune system. When members of the gun industry learned about his health-mandated confinement to his parents’ property for more than a year, and passion for shooting, they stepped up to help ease cabin fever.
Paxton was born with hydroplastic left heart syndrome. In layman’s terms, he has half a heart and only one functioning lung. One out of every 3,841 babies born each year is afflicted, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The organization explains, “Infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome may have lifelong complications. They will need regular follow-up visits with a cardiologist (a heart doctor) to monitor their progress. If the hypoplastic left heart syndrome defect is very complex, or the heart becomes weak after the surgeries, a heart transplant may be needed.”
Leaving home during the winter—when common colds and other viruses are widespread—has never been an option for Paxton. The pandemic’s timing has confined him there for more than a year and, depending on vaccine distribution and efficacy, likely longer.
The industry got involved when Ken Flood, vice president of sales for Warne Scope Mounts, received a phone call Freddy Spencer, a close friend and Paxton’s father. “Paxton is stuck at home and fortunately, the family lives in the country allowing Paxton to be able to shoot on their property,” Flood explained. “When Freddy asked me what type of rifle Paxton could use to shoot long range and also hunt whitetails, I had an idea. I believed we could get our industry partners to provide not only a rifle, but all of the accessories needed for Paxton to be successful shooting long range. The response was amazing.”
There’s no doubt he’s anxious for a chance to visit friends, but until then Paxton’s equipped with the kind of gear to ease any enthusiast’s isolation. He now has a Masterpiece Arms PMR Pro Rifle chambered in 6 mm Creedmoor, one topped with a Kahles K624i scope anchored with a Warne Skyline Mount.
Add the company’s Skyline bipod, Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistic Computer with HUD and MK Machine steel targets and scope lever, and he’s ready to put his science studies to a long-distance test. Midway USA provided a combo rifle case, and Armagedon Gear donated shooting bags and a rifle case. The cartridge shortage isn’t a hurdle, either, because Hornady sent two cases of match ammo.
“When we surprised Paxton with these items, he was blown away,” Spencer said. “I can't thank the shooting industry enough for this amazing gift for my son. He will enjoy this rifle and gear for many years to come.”