"I was just sitting here in my deer stand remembering the first time I took Amy hunting with me. She was only four years old, but already she loved being outdoors and being with Dad. I could hardly go squirrel or rabbit hunting and not have Amy with me. Amy would sit for hours and watch her Mom and I shoot our bows and anytime I would shoot the guns you could bet your best bird dog that she would be right there with me. Her first real hunting trip was at the age of six and she was instantly in love. She sat with her Mom her first evening hunt and sat as still and quiet as a church mouse.
Over the next few years Amy became very proficient with a bow and took her first deer at the age of twelve. Man that kid could shoot, double lunged it at twenty yards. I don’t believe a dad could be any prouder than I was. Amy loves spending time with her Mom and I and would rather go hunting at her spot than go shopping with her friends. Her spot is very special to her, she and her Mom hunt the big maple at Wills together every chance they get.
My thoughts move ahead to opening day of bow season 1995 and everyone is seeing deer. Amy and her mom have seen 31 deer at the big maple in the morning but have passed on several waiting for the right shot. Like so many hunts before they are hunting their special tree together. " Four eyes are better than two " Amy always says. At age fourteen Amy can outshoot every guy in camp including Dad and loves to prove it. That evening the shot was right and Amy took her second deer with another perfect double lunger. Just one week later only a few miles away Amy’s cousin Candise would follow in Amy’s footsteps and get her first deer her very first year of hunting.
Amy is very out going and happy go lucky and although Candise is shy and quiet the exact opposite of Amy, they are drawn together by their love for the outdoors.
Candise, like Amy strives to be the best archer she can be. Candise shoots in tournaments and 3D shoots across the state and is a pleasure to watch. Candise loves to shoot her bow and hunt with her dad Eric. Wherever you see Eric, you can be sure that Candise is close by.
Amy and Candise both love animals but also understand that they must be hunted to manage them or Mother Nature will do it herself. They both understand that respect for the animal you are hunting is the most important part of hunting. They both know that you do not take a shot unless you are confident you can make a quick clean kill. They both understand that you owe that to the animal you are hunting. They are both the type of hunter any father would be proud of.
Now I think ahead to opening day 1996 and I am at the big maple at Wills with Amy’s mom. I feel like I should be at my spot in the back of the property, but not today. As I look over at the plaque that Amy’s Grampa put up, I remember why I am here and not Amy. You see in April of 1996 we lost Amy at age 15 and Candise and Eric at ages 14 and 34 in separate tragedies just one day apart. I know that Amy is in a better place now, but I cannot imagine her wanting to be anywhere else but at her tree. However, I do know that her and Candise are in good spots and are seeing deer because Eric is with them. God must have needed the herd thinned out because he took three of the best in April of 96.
Amy’s mom still hunts the big maple at Wills and I am sure sometimes Amy is hunting there with her. I think about Amy all the time especially when hunting and I’m glad I had the time with her that I did. I only wish we had more time together but wouldn’t trade what we had for anything. I guess the whole point of this is that if you have a son take him hunting, but don’t sell your daughters short, they may just outshoot you. Take your wife hunting and she may become your best hunting buddy. But most of all do it now because we all think we have plenty of time to do it later. But sometimes, for some people, in the blink of an eye, tomorrow never comes."
"I know many of you have seen or at least heard of our B4K Dream Arrows made for us each year for our events. Many probably think these are just another arrow and why do they go for so much in auctions and card blitzes. I just wonder how many of you know what these arrows have really done over the years…..
These arrows have raised thousands of dollars for B4K over the years. That is HUGE for an organization like B4K but what these arrows have done in other ways may be far more important than any of us have realized. I thought you might like to hear of some of the "magic" these arrows have brought to those who have been blessed by them.
A few years back a young boy was suffering from night terrors that several of us here witnessed. If you've ever seen a kid with night terrors you know how truly scary it is not only to the child but to those around them also. At our shoot we opened the box of Dream Arrows that had been sent for the event to auction off, and this little guy just happened to be standing there. The instant he saw them he started shaking and almost hollered "DREAM ARROWS, I HAVE TO HAVE ONE". He grabbed his Dad and told him several times how much he had to have one. Until that day the arrows had never been called "Dream Arrows"…..it was at that moment they got their name.
As the auction that night and the card raffles the next day passed the little boy had yet to get his "Dream Arrow". As things sometimes go, the last of the "Dream Arrows" went up in a card raffle and it looked as though the little boy and his Dad would be leaving without one. But fate had other plans. One fellow’s Dad had won a "Dream Arrow" the day before in the auction and knew about the little boys hopes to take a "Dream Arrow" home with him, he wasn't about to let him leave without one. He had his son take up a collection for B4K and in return for the generosity of many he presented the little boy with his treasured "Dream Arrow".
A few weeks after the shoot the little boys father posted on a web forum, that amazingly the little boys night terrors had stopped since he had received his "Dream Arrow" (remember he named them) and wondered if the little boy saw something in those special arrows to help him through whatever it was that troubled him. Magic??? You tell me.
In 1999 at our June Fundraiser we met our first Outdoor Wish Kid. He was a frail little 11-year-old named Mark Austin with a disease so rare only 7 kids in the world had it. The disease affected each child with it in different ways and to date had always proven to be terminal.
Mark's wish was to hunt for a Buffalo and B4K with the help of Huron Pointe Sportsmen's Association was able grant this wish. At our shoot that year, of the many people there Mark was one of the lucky winners of one of our "Dream Arrows". As he left the shoot that evening he clutched his "Dream Arrow" close to him as if was protecting him from something. Now I wonder if in fact it was.
In 2002 Mark Austin attended our June Fundraiser again and brought his Buffalo head for everyone to see. He also brought something else with him, his "Dream Arrow". As he handed me his "Dream Arrow" he said "since I'm better now I'd like to give this back to you to help raise money so you can help other kids like me". I found out later that evening as did everyone in the crowd that Mark is now in FULL REMISSION from a disease that had taken the life of everyone else stricken with it! However Mark had something none of them had, he had a "Dream Arrow". Did the "Dream Arrow" make the difference?
5 weeks before the 2004 June Fundraiser, our past board member Lee Morrow's wife Sammi (my cousin) went into the hospital stricken with cancer. They found it in 4 different areas of her body and the prognosis wasn’t good. Prior to the shoot they had no idea of when or if Sammi would be able to leave the hospital. The pain she was in and the treatments she is undergoing just wouldn't let her go home.
Our daughter Jackie had been staying with Lee and Sammi since taking a job in New Jersey where they live. She had come home for the shoot and we talked of Sammi often. Jackie, April and I decided that should any of us win a "Dream Arrow" that it would go home with Jackie and she would give it to Sammi in the hopes of lifting her spirits. We did a card raffle for 6 "Dream Arrows" and on the 3rd card April won a "Dream Arrow" with one of her two cards. At that time I told everyone what we planned to do and asked them to say a prayer for Sammi. Not 10 minutes after April won that arrow Jackie was on the phone with Lee and he told her "Sammi's coming home tomorrow".
Now I don't know if that "Dream Arrow" had anything to do with it but I'd like to think it did. I'd also like to think that "Dream Arrow" will help protect Sammi and help her fight the battle she now faces.
Do the "Dream Arrows" have "magic" in them? I don't know but look at the picture of our B4K logo and then think of the card that April won the "Dream Arrow" with that we so desperately wanted for Sammi. She won it with the 4 of Hearts.