HAVA Hosts 1st Annual Ruck Up Event

Veterans enjoyed two days of outdoor activities at the Niantic Sportsman Club in Connecticut.

posted on April 28, 2022
HAVA Outdoor event

Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA), an organization founded by companies in the shooting and outdoor industry, partnered with the Independence Fund’s Tactical Program and Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services (VETS) to hold the 1st Annual Ruck Up event earlier this month. Fourteen veterans were brought together for a special day of shooting at the Niantic Sportsman Club and another day learning survival skills at the VETS facility in Stonington, CT.

“Being able to connect with other veterans as both participants and instructors was amazing,” said U.S. Army SFC Elias Brooks (Ret.), who was twice awarded the Bronze Star. “Getting to shoot guns and bows/arrows with world-class instructors really helped increase my knowledge and capabilities. On Sunday, our interaction with horses was just good for your soul. The comradery and togetherness amongst a group of people that just met was exactly what I needed. I’d love to give a huge thank you to HAVA, VETS-CT, ACADEMI, SIG Sauer, Halls Archery and Black Rifle Coffee for all they did in sponsoring this event.”

HAVA took lead with the firearm portion and partnered with Matthew Fleisher, president of the Niantic Sportsman's Club in Niantic, CT. The veterans shot pistol, long-range .22 rifle and archery. TIF donated funds to ensure each participant went home with the same recurve bow they learned to shoot with during the event. Niantic Sportsman Club donated use of its facility and provided lunch and snacks.

The VETS staff conducted the outdoor survival skills training. Participants learned valuable survival skills such as shelter and fire building, as well as how to approach, pack and lead horses in survival situations.

“Planning this event went smoothly with the help of all of our volunteers and the professionalism they showed,” said Kurt Herzberg, event lead and firearm instructor for HAVA. “We look forward to making this a yearly event and will make every effort to continue to provide a safe and memorable experience for the veteran community.”


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