By John McGee
Two local veterans were given the chance to unwind in the outdoors last weekend with an all-expenses-paid hunt at Mobley Ranch.
Gary Mobley, owner of Mobley Pool Company in Bryan, teamed up with Brazos Valley Buckmasters Ronnie and Connie West, and the Texas A&M Veteran Resource and Support Center to create this year’s wounded warrior hunt at Mobley’s Ranch.
“They [veterans] deserve a little extra attention. This was something we could do locally, so I felt like it was our obligation,” says Mobley.
This hunt marks the 7th year of wounded warrior hunts held at Mobley Ranch and included Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, Aaron Smith and Mike Prater.
Smith suffered severe hearing loss during an IED sweep as a result of an IED explosion near his vehicle in Iraq and Prater suffered a severe knee injury.
“What they do here and the opportunities they allow for veterans here is priceless,” says Smith. Being able to get out there in nature, it’s therapeutic and helps out a lot. It speaks volumes about them and their commitment to veterans and to wounded warriors. [Mobley has] a really big heart and I’m very appreciative of that.”
Both Smith and Prater were able to shoot an elk during their weekend hunt, Smith on Saturday morning and Prater later that afternoon.
“It was nice to come out here and unplug for a couple of days,” says Prater. “I really appreciate them having us out here.”
They both attend Texas A&M University now that they’re back.
Smith is Class of ’20 studying poultry science in an effort to enter into international agriculture development. He says he hopes to help the people in Africa as he saw a huge need for agricultural development when he was previously stationed there.
Prater is Class of ’19 studying anthropology with an emphasis on Archaeology. He says he hopes to find a job in nautical archaeology, as that has been his passion.
Along with wounded warrior hunts, Mobley’s Ranch also regularly holds hunting events and weeklong camps for underprivileged kids throughout the year. They are always looking for more sponsors to help out as well.
“It would be cool to have more people step up and say, ‘Hey, we want to sponsor wounded warriors, or we want to sponsor special needs kids for a weekend in the summer,’” says Mobley.
If you would like to help sponsor any of their events, go to www.mobleyranch.com for more information.