ENNIS, Texas - Helicopters for Heroes is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping and uplifting veterans and raise money for the causes that help the men and women who have sacrificed so much.
This year, the aerial hog hunt in Ennis was therapeutic for several wounded warriors.
Marine Veteran Cpl. Patrick Myers has overcome much since 2005 when an IED took both of his legs in Iraq.Cpl. Patrick Myers has overcome much since 2005 when an IED took both of his legs in Iraq.
"This is true therapy, you know. This is what heals me,” he said. “"It's not the hunting part. It's being with other veterans.”
It's the comradery that Myers looks forward to most with the Helicopters for Heroes event, a three-day weekend filled with food, entertainment, and hunting wild hogs from helicopters.
The dinners, concerts and ceremonies are a powerful show of support to wounded warriors. But for many of them, it's not until they ride in a helicopter, much like the ones that took them into and out of combat, does the past become the present and the healing can begin."
Phillip Brooks founded the nonprofit several years ago after his 9-year-old son thanked a WWII veteran for his service.
"We have some guys here that haven't been on a helicopter or a firearm in their hand since they left the battlefield or were carried off the battlefield,” he said.
Brooks, who never served himself, decided to serve those who did.
"That was my epiphany,” he explained. “It gave me chill bumps."
In 2012, Army Veteran Sgt. Will Hoyum was wounded by an IED in Afghanistan. The last time was he in a helicopter was when he was medevacked. It was Hoyum's first experience but not likely to be his last.
"This sort of thing is good for healing,” he said. “It's always good to be around people who actually understand what you are saying. Most people don't get what you're talking about. So that definitely makes it a lot easier."
There are still sponsorship opportunities for Saturday’s event that includes another hunt, dinner, auction and entertainment. Proceeds from Helicopters for Heroes go directly to veteran charities.