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Disabled hunters stalk whitetail deer during weekend event

By Staff
DISCUSSING THE HUNT Jerry Parham, left, of Philadelphia, discusses his Saturday afternoon hunt with "Mississippi Outdoors" host Melvin Tingle. Photo by Janet McDonald/The Meridian Star
By Janet McDonald/The Meridian Star
Nov. 25, 2001
Disabled hunters teamed with former professional football players, local celebrities, friends and relatives on Saturday, spending the morning and afternoon stalking whitetail deer.
The hunts were part of a three-day event in Chunky in which 27 disabled men, women and children hunted. The event was hosted by the Wheelin' Sportsmen-National Wild Turkey Federation, Blackwater Creek Tree Stands and A&B Sportsman's Club.
Steve Thomas, regional director for the Wheelin' Sportsmen-National Wild Turkey Federation, said his organization works with disabled hunters.
The organization began in 1996 as the Wheelin' Sportsmen, founded by Thomas' wheelchair-bound brother. In October 2000, it joined forces with the National Wild Turkey Federation which gives money to outdoor events for the disabled.
The weekend event, called the 2001 Ultimate Team-Up, began Friday with registration, lunch, an afternoon hunt and a fund-raising dinner, auction and concert at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center.
Approximately $11,000 was raised from the auction to benefit WS-NWTF programs.
Saturday's activities included a morning and afternoon hunt and other field activities. The event will wrap-up today with a morning hunt and closing ceremonies.
Celebrities who participated in the hunt included Bud Brown, retired football player for the Miami Dolphins; Mike Maberry, retired football player for the New Orleans Saints; Jay Powell, baseball player for the Colorado Rockies; and Paul Phillips, minor league baseball player for Kansas City.
Other celebrities included Jamie Brown, minor league baseball player for Cleveland; Melvin Tingle, host of Mississippi Outdoors; Preston Pittman, national and world champion turkey caller; and Blake Weldon, country music recording artist.
Volunteers from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Blackwater Creek Tree Stands, local National Wild Turkey Federation chapters and Metro Ambulance were also on hand to assist hunters.
Janet McDonald is the assistant news editor at The Meridian Star.