Returning home can be a difficult transition for any soldier. But it's even harder for those veterans who still bear the mental and physical scars from their service.
Those wounded warriors aren't being forgotten in the Tri-States. Saturday morning the organization Quail Forever took four such veterans on a hunt they'll never forget.
Walking through rough terrain like this on a pheasant hunt isn't something Army Sergeant Brad Baze of Quincy can do for very long. He took on a spinal injury in Iraq...which makes it hard to get around in the fields without an ATV.
Baze said, "I would never get to do this without their help."
Like Baze, Former Marine Bradley Darnell still struggles with his knee after replacement surgery. He's one of the many veterans who don't come back whole...but still want and deserve the chance to do the things they've always enjoyed.
"I enjoy spending time with the guys and of course hitting some birds."
And perhaps getting back to nature is just what the doctor ordered....especially for soldiers like Anthony McReynolds of Hannibal.
"It's a huge stress reliever. It's nice to be around guys who understand what you're going through."
This pheasant hunt for the four local veterans was put on by the local chapter of Quail Forever. President Ryan Viehmeyer says members of the organization wanted to give these wounded warriors a chance to get back into the forests and fields.
Viehmeyer said, "If it wasn't for the veterans that we have here today you and I wouldn't have the freedoms we have now."
Former Marine Lucas Hackamack says this hunt is a nice reminder that vets like him aren't forgotten.
As these soldiers show off the birds they bagged, it gives them a break from the scars that hold them back - if just for a little while.
Quail Forever raised the funds to put on the hunt at the Rock Solid Hunting Preserve near Mendon.