Nicholas Fox was taken aback.
Stepping off the plane at Jamestown Airport on Wednesday afternoon, the North Carolina native and U.S. Marine was likely expecting another quiet, mundane arrival. Instead, he was greeted with a surprise hero's welcome, courtesy of two ministries-Chappy's Outdoors and Christian Bowhunters of America-along with the Patriot Guard Riders, Jamestown Civil Air Patrol and the Jamestown Airport staff.
"This is phenomenal, and completely unexpected," Fox said. "I'm really appreciative of this."
Pictured here from the left are Dave VanEardon, Clymer teacher; Nicholas Fox; Sergeant First Class Prine; and Bob Johnson.
P-J photo by A.J. Rao
Fox, who was wounded in Iraq-by shrapnel wounds to his right leg and back- and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, had applied online to participate in one of the many outdoor activities organized by Chappy's Outdoors. The ministry partners with land owners, ranchers, outdoor guides and fishermen to provide Wounded Warriors and combat veterans a chance to enjoy hunting and fishing opportunities around the country.
Fox was selected for the Second Annual Wounded Veterans Whitetail and Bear Hunt in Clymer, which begins today and extends through Saturday. He will join three other veterans-two of whom are Vietnam veterans-during the hunt.
"We want to show (the veterans) that the American public appreciates what they do," said Bob Johnson, business and financial coordinator for Christian Bowhunters of America and a member of Chappy's Outdoors' board of directors. "We're just using the outdoors to show that the fingerprint of God is in everything, and helping them battle through (their injuries and PTSD)."
"This is phenomenal, and completely unexpected. I'm really appreciative of this."
Johnson indicated that helping veterans like this will become an annual event for his organizations.