The annual Wounded Warrior Hunt allowed the soldiers, who are on active duty at Fort Leonard Wood, get away from the pressure of military life hosted in an event organized by Missouri Department of Conservation Agent David McCorkell, with the assistance and contributions of more than 80 people around the county, who donated money, time and farms for hunting.

Army First Sgt. Brad Brockman was amazed at reception that he and nine other soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., received over the weekend in Monroe County.

The combat veteran of 22 years of United States Army service said that Monroe County rolled out the red carpet for soldiers who were hosted for the annual Wounded Warrior Hunt. Wounded warriors hunted for pheasant, quail and rabbits in the two-day event on farms volunteered by land owners around the county.

“This is just been great,” said Brockman, who says he is an avid hunter. “It’s a chance for good fellowship and to be able to enjoy the community.”

The annual Wounded Warrior Hunt allowed the soldiers, who are on active duty at Fort Leonard Wood, get away from the pressure of military life hosted in an event organized by Missouri Department of Conservation Agent David McCorkell, with the assistance and contributions of more than 80 people around the county, who donated money, time and farms for hunting.

“This was my second year to serve as the liaison between the community and Fort Leonard Wood,” McCorkell said. “I want to emphasize that this is a community event not just one person or organization.”

Wounded Warrior events such as the one in Monroe County have cropped up around the nation to help relieve stress on service men and women have experienced over the last 17 years, since the nation started to bomb Afghanistan in the months following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. Many soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines served only in wartime.

The hunt has two purposes – provide recognition from the community for the sacrifice of the soldiers and to give wounded warriors a chance to escape the daily pressures of service.

“We know that several of these soldiers have been awarded the Purple Heart, but no one is asking them about their service or how they were wounded. That is not the purpose,” McCorkell said. “They are here to get away from it all, and enjoy the hospitality.”

McCorkell has a personal stake in the hunt. He served in the Army as an airborne engineer, serving a combat tour in Afghanistan, where he was wounded. While some wounded warriors get other military assignments, many are in limbo about their future in service.

“I know what it’s like sitting there at Fort Leonard Wood wondering what the next step is for your life,” he said. “I was there, and it was a low point in my life. You sit there no knowing whether you will continue on active duty or what will happen. I was fortunate. I got out and went to college, and found my career.”