OWL looking to grow Crenshaw County chapter

Published 3:58 pm Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hunting season is upon us, and soon, many Crenshaw County residents will be enjoying the sights and sounds of nature and of being in the woods. But for many others, the idea of enjoying the woods, of hunting for deer, or of just being in nature is not a reality because they are physically challenged.

However, there is a group of residents who want to change all that and make these dreams come true. Outdoors Without Limits (OWL) is a faith-based, non-profit organization that is committed to reducing these barriers that prevent physically challenged individuals from enjoying the great outdoors.

And for Michael Hatten, OWL regional vice president and Highland Home resident, this is a dream he wants to spread throughout the entire county.

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“The Highland Home Chapter of OWL has been in place for three years now, but we want to extend that and make it the Crenshaw County Chapter,” Hatten said. “We need volunteers, guides, and cooks—anyone who would like to get involved. We need people from Luverne, Brantley, Glenwood—all over this county– to get involved.”

“Once you attend a meeting and actually go on a hunt with disabled veterans, adults or especially children, you’ll see how rewarding it is,” Hatten said. “It’s a life changing experience, I can promise you that.”

On Oct. 6, the OWL Crenshaw County Chapter will host its annual OWL dinner, including a live and silent auction, at It Don’t Matter Restaurant. Hatten said donations and volunteers are still needed for the Oct. 6 event. The dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 for singles and $35 for couples.

Hatten said that for a $250 sponsorship, the participant would receive dinner for four, along with a chance to win a sponsorship gun or print. A $1,000 Round Table Sponsorship is also available on a first-come, first-serve basis. This would include six sponsorship tickets with six chances to win the sponsorship gun or print, plus $100 worth of raffle packages. The evening will be filled with all types of games and raffles for the benefit.

“As this is a new and growing program, we appreciate any support people are willing to give,” Hatten said.

Erick Horne is the president of the Crenshaw County Chapter, and he echoes Hatten’s sentiments about the rewards of the program.

“When you actually help someone who is in a wheelchair or who has cerebral palsy to shoot a gun for the first time or to kill their first deer, or to just be out in the woods, it’s a feeling that is like nothing else,” Horne said. “When you see the smiles on their faces, it’s addictive, and you want to do it again.”

For more information, contact Michael Hatten at 770-722-5905 or Erick Horne at erick.t.horne@us.army.mil. Also, please visit the Web site at www.OutdoorsWithoutLimits.net.