In 2007, 3 executives took several combat-wounded veterans on a successful hunt and realized that everyone had a good time on the hunt and wanted to do more. Shortly thereafter, a Committee of shooting sports industry executives founded Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA), a 501c3 organization to help the healing and re-integration of disabled veterans and injured active military back into normal American life through participation in outdoor events.
Seven companies committed funds and personnel to organize and sponsor initial HAVA sanctioned activities, and will serve on the Board of Directors, along with new Sustaining Sponsors for a period of three years to insure that the organization is launched in the proper manner.
HAVA has zero headquarters, zero employees, and 90% of the funds go to the actual mission to serve disabled post-9/11 veterans. The program typically serves around 1,000 veterans each year.
HAVA isn’t just for veterans. Family days are hosted several times a year, allowing spouses and children of the veterans to come out for a whole day and meet a celebrity shooter with all food and board already arranged. Children can participate in an airsoft program, complete a training and safety program and compete in various stages utilizing police training facilities.
There are 12-15 hunts each year located in 15-18 states, plus 3 major shooting events per year plus an additional 4-5 lower level shooting events.
In fact, Smith & Wesson Corp. presented Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) with a donation of $50,000 at the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Atlanta, Ga. HAVA has sponsored events in Texas, Georgia, South Dakota, Montana, North Carolina, California, Washington, Florida, and other states. The ultimate goal is to increase their confidence and hope for the future by reconnecting with their love of the outdoors and the American traditions of hunting and firearms.
The hunts can entail a trip to Alaska, New Mexico, and more. Most recently, 10 disabled veterans with 10 medical assistants and 10 handlers went on an elk hunt where each veteran returned home with 300-400 pounds of dressed elk meat that he shot and killed.
HAVA is dedicated to the veteran’s healing, and will sanction and sponsor only those events that are conceived, conducted and promoted according to the highest ethical, safety and performance standards consistent with the organization mission. Appropriate drug and alcohol use restrictions will be meticulously observed, and the best interests of the veteran’s rehabilitation will be pursued vigorously.
How Can You Help?
HAVA allows civilians to make a donation via the website or donors can call in their donations. Corporate sponsorship is also available. Some donors include a check via mail “en memoriam” Donations of physical time through volunteering are also welcome and appreciated.
If you’re interested in being considered for the program, contact HAVA directly from their website.
Those who would like to learn more about the HAVA organization can do so on their website.