As we end 2014 I think it’s best to do so on a good note – and not just a good note, but a great note. At a time when we’re hearing nothing positive about our law enforcement officers, here is one of those stories that should make us all warm inside.As reported by Fox News, “A 9-year-old boy is on an “awesome” hunting trip in South Carolina after mistakenly asking a Pennsylvania sheriff to teach him how to hunt. Alex Collins flew to Chester, S.C., Monday to hunt with Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood for two days. The sheriff took Alex shopping for boots, pants, a camouflage jacket and a fishing tackle box. Then he lent Alex his favorite rifle and showed the boy how to hold it safely. After that they had a hearty breakfast and ventured into the deep woods to look for deer.” “Underwood has a program where he offers to take kids hunting and fishing. The boy’s mother saw the offer on Facebook but when she saw Chester County she thought it was Chester County in Pennsylvania. That’s where she and her son live.”
But the hunting trip was in South Carolina. So how did little Alex Collins end up being on the awesome hunting trip in Chester County, South Carolina? After all, they just barely made the “deadline” to submit their letter for the trip — albeit to the wrong Sheriff’s office.
As the story goes, Alex’s single mom was ill and incapable of teaching Alex how to hunt. So when the Chester County, Pennsylvania Sheriff, Carolyn Welsh, realized what had happened she went into action. “Alex was crestfallen when he was told about the mix-up. But that’s when Welsh contacted Underwood. “I talked to the sheriff up there and I said if we can work it out let’s get him down here and I’d be glad to take him hunting with me,” Underwood said in a report on Fox & Friends. The two sheriffs and their deputies are chipping in for Alex’s trip and his hunting gear. Alex is staying with Underwood and his family. The sheriff and Alex call each other Big A and Little A.”And so the respective sheriffs and their deputies have come together for Little A, chipped in and paid for the travel, so Alex the Younger is having the time of his life down in the Palmetto State of South Carolina. Perhaps fate has brought these two together.
“Underwood, elected sheriff in 2012, took the boy to a one of his favorite hunting spots, a 500-acre spread straddling the Chester and Fairfield county lines. The sheriff told Alex the spot is so secret that he had to swear not to tell anyone how to get to it.”
I can’t think of a better program for young inner city kids who have no male role model. Taking them out of their horrific environment and teach them how to survive and live off nature would be a great experience.I remember when my former Brigade Commander at Ft. Bragg, Colonel Denny R. Lewis, and I traversed a portion of the Appalachian Trail and mused over how great it would be to gather a group of young inner city fellas for a weekend trek and camping. It was Col. Lewis, a great mentor, who sent me this story and reminded me of that walk we took on that hot day in Virginia.
I will never forget the time when I went into the Georgia woods, south of Griffin, as part of the Boy Scout jamboree. It was a fantastic weekend and I came to appreciate the peace and tranquility of being with nature — and I also learned that I did not like snakes. But it was a challenge for me to pitch a tent with someone I’d never met and our group learned to prepare a meal with an open fire.
As we close 2014, I want to send a special hat tip to the Chester County Sheriff’s Carolyn Welsh and Alex Underwood for giving a 9-year-old boy a memory he’ll cherish for a lifetime. And that folks is exactly what makes our America great!Happy New Year.