Caribou Gear

U.S.S.A special Bear hunt ..But he Froze Up

John mozingo

New member
May 17, 2003
Chetopa kansas
This hunt shows that Their is a lot of good pople in the world..To nmake the story good The boy was a sleep When the big one came in I had to wake him up......................Sunday, September 21, 2003 Volume 14, Issue 38

A wish fulfilled
By Marshall Helmberger

Most young men with an interest in hunting can look forward to a long lifetime of outdoor experiences. But for one very ill young man from West Virginia, it took the generosity of several Cook area businesses to make his dream of experiencing a bear hunt come true.
Jon Crowther is just 14, but he is already in the advanced stages of a fast-developing form of muscular dystrophy, a disease that has rendered him almost totally paralyzed below the chest. He faces a future of continuing, rapid loss of muscular control. The disease is nearly always fatal.

But all that was forgotten for a few days earlier this month, when John and his stepfather, James Lilly, arrived in Cook for what was likely to be, literally, Jon’s bear hunt of a lifetime.

The Wisconsin-based United Special Sportsmens Alliance (USSA) arranged the hunt, after Jon’s parents contacted them. Group founder Bridgette O’Donaghue founded the group three years ago after the well-known Make a Wish Foundation stopped organizing hunting trips under pressure from animal rights groups. O’Donaghue said her group has raised more than $800,000 in that time to grant wishes for terminally ill young people with an interest in hunting or fishing.

After talking to Jon’s parents, USSA worked quickly to set up the hunt. They contacted Gary Martinson, a bear hunting guide from Cook, who agreed to donate the hunt. They then turned to a number of Cook area businesses, which donated thousands of dollars in goods and services to help make it possible. The Vermilion Motel donated a room for five nights, Gustafson Motors gave the use of a van, and Cook Building Center donated materials for a special blind. Other businesses donated as well, including Hadersbeck’s Hardware, Rick Scheuring’s taxidermy service, Vermilion Guide Service, and Mark Shermer’s meat processing.

Business owners elsewhere in Minnesota picked up the cost of air fare and the $196 cost of a non-resident license.

“I can’t believe how great the city of Cook was about it,” said John Mozingo, a USSA board member who accompanied Jon and his stepfather during the week’s hunt. “If it wasn’t for the people of Cook, it wouldn’t have been possible,” he said.

And a memorable experience it was, for young Jon. “We had a fabulous time,” said Lilly. “We had never met these guys before, but they acted like we’d known them for years,” he said.

And while Jon never actually shot at a bear during his five day hunt, he watched in amazement as a nearly 500-pound bruin walked past the ground blind Martinson built for him west of Cook. Later, he tried to raise his rifle for a 250 -pounder, but he was too excited to hold it steady, even with help from Lilly. But that didn’t matter in the least. “He was just ecstatic,” according to his stepdad.

And that’s the point of the whole effort, according to Mozingo, who has been disabled himself for more than twenty years. “I really do relate to them,” he said. “You talk to kids like Jon, and you really see that you don’t have anything to complain about—this disease is just taking his young life away. You don’t know how lucky you are, until you see these kids.” And after his visit to Cook, Mozingo said he plans to be back next year, with another young person facing a similar diagnosis. “Jon was just treated like gold. I can’t believe how friendly everyone was,” he said.

For Martinson, who has guided for years, but never under similar circumstances, the experience was a revelation. “This will be a yearly thing for me from now on,” he said. “If I can make a young kid’s dream come true like this, it’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “It’s not about the killing of the animal. It’s the experience of the camaradarie, and of being one of the guys for a while. It was really successful, he was just tickled pink.” WE had a great time. John Mozingo USSA..
Thanks John. Not only for providing the article, but for for helping that young man out. It is truely a great thing you do.

Just reading the article got me choked up.

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