The big-tired, red, white and blue pickup seemed to shout for attention. Its star-spangled, flag-themed wrap sparkled in the sun outside the 36th annual Dixie Deer Classic held March 4-6 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.
The truck is helping nonprofit organizations highlight an urgent need: a way to help wounded veterans cope with mental health issues.
“We lose too many to suicide,” said retired Capt. John A. “Woody” Woodall, a veteran of the Raleigh Fire Department.
The donated, fully customized 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor “Patriot” is being raffled to aid the purchase of a former hunting club on an 80-acre tract near the Robeson County town of Fairmont. The property will be a retreat for vets and caregivers along with firefighters and police officers.
Called Camp4Heroes, the project is a partnership of FireFighters Assisting Armed Forces Families, or FFAAFF, and Truckin’ 4 Troops, along with other groups.
“It’s got a lodge on it. We’re going to build a chapel and cabins,” said Kaye Zumbrunnen of Raleigh, secretary-treasurer of Camp4Heroes. “We’re going to have art therapy, music therapy, skeet shooting, archery – whatever these guys and girls want.”
The property includes a stocked 9-acre lake.
“We’ll have hunting and fishing, too. … It’s ready to go,” said Charlye Phillips of Raleigh, the secretary-treasurer of FFAAFF.
Retired Raleigh fire Capt. John “Woody” Woodall, injured in a Raleigh explosion in 2004, has been working with New York and North Carolina individuals and groups to assist veterans.
“When you get these guys together, the healing starts,” said Woodall, who said he sold his painting of “Forrest Gump” character Lt. Dan Taylor surrounded by scenes from the movie to a buyer who caught his enthusiasm and donated the truck.
Raffle sales end Saturday. Only 5,000 of the $100 tickets are being sold. Go to www.ffaaff.org.
Women: The Sandhills Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold its fourth annual Women in the Outdoors event 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Camp Freedom, 7366 Sherrill Baggett Road in Falcon. Cost is $65. Register at www.eventbrite.com; search for “Sandhills.”
Banquets: The State College Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the only student chapter in North Carolina, will hold its 10th anniversary banquet at 6 p.m. Friday at Cary VFW Post 7383 at 522 Reedy Creek Road.
Tickets are $30 for students and $50 for nonstudents. Go to www.facebook.com/events/1518311878471413. To donate auction items, contact Jonathon Pearson at 336-344-0975.
▪ The Franklin County Longbeards NWTF Chapter’s Hunting Heritage Banquet will be held at 7 p.m. March 19 at Big Franklin Warehouse, 412 Fox Park, Louisburg. Tickets cost $60 singles and $25 Jakes. Go to www.facebook.com/events/1025383424200931.
Bowhunting and running: The Frogman 3D Bowhunters Challenge and 5K will be held March 19 at 555 Grants Creek Road in Jacksonville. Go to www.facebook.com/FrogmanBowhuntersChallenge.
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