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Veteran/Gold Star Family Appreciation Hunt

In October 2021, KUIU held its inaugural Veterans and Gold Star Family Appreciation Hunt.We partnered up with the Three Rangers Foundation and Whittaker Brothers Hunting Company to provide a Veteran and Gold Star family member with an all-inclusive hunt to thank them for their service and sacrifice to this great nation.

The idea for the hunt came about simply as another way for KUIU to give back to our Veteran and Gold Star family community. Additionally, it would serve two-fold by also being a platform for KUIU to highlight and promote one of the many outstanding outfitters and non-profit organizations that we work with on a regular basis.

Once the initial concept was approved, the first phone call was to Jason, Josh and Eric, owners of Whitaker Brothers Hunting Company (WHBC). Before the question could even be finished, they said, “we're in”! WHBC stepped up huge by donating everything for the hunt including guides, landowner tags, lodging and meals. Their support and generosity speak volumes about the character of these three amazing men.

Next up, we reached out to Chris Vanek, a former Regimental Commander for the 75th Rangers, who’s now retired and volunteers his time as the Director of the Goldstar Program for the Three Rangers Foundation. The Three Rangers Foundation, or TRF, is an all-volunteer organization founded by three members of the elite 3rd Ranger Battalion, who in 1993 fought in the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia. TRF was established to fill gaps in the complex and often not synchronized governmental support by striving to serve transitioning Rangers, Ranger veterans, their family members and Goldstar families. Chris was excited about the opportunity and said that he would have a Goldstar family member selected to participate in the hunt.

Fast forward six months later and with all the pieces of the puzzle lined up and the players in place, it was now time to hunt. The event was held over 3 days in Trinidad, Colorado on one of the many properties that WHBC manages. The participants hunted antelope spot-and-stalk style personally guided by Jason, Josh, and Eric. Timing for the hunt couldn’t have gone any better as coincidentally it took place on the 28th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu in which the TRF organization was founded on.

The inaugural event was an overwhelming success that was a truly humbling experience for all the parties involved. We are already looking forward to and planning for next year’s hunt.

Check out the trailer to the film scheduled to be released Memorial Day weekend.

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