By Jade Moldé
With the launch of 2017, Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) celebrates 10 years of serving veterans. The industry-founded organization has big plans to maintain its support of veterans, active-duty military and their families.
According to HAVA Chairman Tom Taylor, last year represented an “important” year for the organization.
“We’ve been around for nearly 10 years now and we had our three major Family Days. The reason why 2016 was pivotal is because we launched a new Long-Range Shooting program. It’s been great for the people we serve who have mobility issues. And with the popularity of long-range shooting, it’s something that was important for us,” Taylor said.
HAVA staged three Family Day events in 2016: the Fifth Annual HAVI/ACADEMI Family Day was held in June, the Fourth Annual HAVA/Rockcastle event took place in September and the Ninth HAVA/SAPD (San Antonio Police Dept.) Family Day was hosted in October. Additionally, HAVA organized a number of Range Days throughout the year.
“We served around 1,200 of our disabled veterans, active-duty military and their families at the HAVA Family Days. When you roll up all our events, between 400 and 500 volunteers collectively served at our events as well. We’re very, very pleased with the progress we’ve made,” Taylor added.
Also in 2016, HAVA introduced a milestone initiative: the Learn To Shoot Again (LTSA) division. This new program provides individual shooter adaptive training for severely disabled military veterans and injured active-duty military that can no longer shoot conventionally due to their injuries. LTSA was organized by former 7th Special Operations Command Sgt. Rick Cicero, himself a double amputee who overcame his injuries and learned to shoot again.
“It’s one of the coolest things we’ve done,” Taylor said on the development of LTSA. “We serve all disabilities — whether you’re physically disabled or have PTSD — and we don’t have any criteria that says you have to have a certain type of disability. At HAVA, we serve everyone through hunts and range days, but LTSA is definitely more focused for those that need extra or new ways to shoot.”
To date, LTSA has conducted training in Florida, California, North Carolina and Kentucky for several dozen veterans. The program will expand to 10-plus states in 2017.
In addition to expanding the LTSA program, Taylor announced HAVA will “absolutely continue” with its Family Days, hunts and Long-Range program this year.
In 2016, HAVA introduced the Learn To Shoot Again program.
Here, participants pose for a “class photo.”
During HAVA Family Days, attendees receive instruction
while operating a variety of platforms.
The 2016 HAVA ACADEMI Family Day hosted 200 disabled veterans,
their spouses and children, plus over 170 volunteers.
Maintaining Momentum In 2017
As the organization enters its 10th year, Taylor said HAVA plans to build on its longevity and success.
“In celebrating our 10th anniversary of operation, we want to let people in the industry know this is something that’s been around for a while. One thing we’re never shy about is expressing our support of the industry and the Second Amendment. We want to make sure the industry understands our agenda and objectives,” he added.
One of the organization’s core objectives is to continue serving veterans. Taylor said this primary effort will be enhanced to make sure more veterans are served.
“The organization continues to add sponsors and programs — as well as garnering additional support from the industry, which is awesome. Because our industry has been so supportive, we’re looking for some creative ways to even better communicate the resources we have and take care of these incredible heroes we serve. It’s a big objective in 2017,” he concluded.
To learn more about HAVA, visit www.honoredveterans.org or contact Tom Taylor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HAVA served around 1,200 disabled veterans at HAVA Family Days last year.
As HAVA celebrates 10 years in 2017 the organization will continue to
seek out new programs to serve more veterans and their families.