Hunting for Heroes: Serving disabled law officers
An organization called Hunting for Heroes, now in its second year of operation, is raising money through 'red meat' efforts like hunting tournaments and outdoor activities
For one federal agent, an idea for a reality-television show stopped at the ‘reality’ part. Chris Allen is stationed in his home state of Missouri. Although serving now in a metropolitan area, Allen grew up as an avid hunter in the woods and fields of southern Missouri. As a sportsman, he was looking at possible careers in baseball and professional hunting while finishing his criminal justice degree. After graduating at the top of his class at the prestigious Missouri Police Corps training academy, he worked the streets in a St. Louis suburb. He finished his Master’s degree while working with BATF agents on a gang task force and began the long application process to join that federal agency.
Allen never lost his Ozark accent or his passion for hunting. He and former police partner Chuck Bowles began researching the feasibility of hosting a hunting show for television. Part of the concept was to follow police officers who were also hunters and videotape them at work and at play. One show idea was a charity hunt for disabled lawmen. To his shock, Allen didn’t readily find an organization with the sole mission of serving disabled cops.
The dream of television faded as the idea for helping disabled police officers through outdoor activities came into focus. The result is Hunting for Heroes.
“We’re a group of law enforcement officers who felt a calling to serve our disabled brothers and sisters. We feel it our duty to provide for our fellow brothers and sisters,” says Allen.
HFH is experiencing success and the challenges of growth. Support for HFH has been enthusiastic but that doesn’t automatically translate to the dollars needed as the organization begins serving more disabled law officers. The first event was such an inspiration that two of the participants asked to serve on the HFH Board.
Several tournaments and activities are scheduled for 2011, just the second year of operation for Hunting for Heroes.
The future of HFH includes obtaining property to provide ongoing camping experiences available year-round. A supportive counseling environment with peers and the continued fellowship of the law enforcement community will be integrated into the outdoor experience.
“They just want to get out and hang with the boys in blue and forget about their injury for a while” says Allen. Another goal is to develop scholarship programs for spouses who may need new skills to become sole supporters after the loss of an officer’s full time income from his or her disability.
Heroes helping heroes. What a concept!