Through its Outdoor Sports Program, the AFF coordinates hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreational events around the country for our brave wounded warriors and their families. These activities are termed “social reintegration” by therapists. They are not just the clinical rehabilitation in which injured military personnel usually participate in; they also provide disabled Veterans with hope that they can live active and productive lives. The program helps bolster their confidence and self esteem, while serving as a venue for them to assimilate with the public.
The Outdoor Sports Program started in 2005 when Lt.Col. Lew Deal, USMC (ret) teamed with the Armed Forces Foundation to establish an outdoor sports program. Lew brought years of personal experience of working with disabled veterans and the outdoor industry. What began as local outreach to the wounded at Walter Reed and Bethesda military hospitals quickly expanded to the national level. Through Lew’s direction, the program gained national attention through popular TV outdoors shows Mossy Oak Hunting the Country and North American Hunter and sporting magazines such as Peterson’s Hunting. For his work with disabled veterans, Lew was honored in 2009 by Outdoor Life as one of the Outdoor Life 25 “who changed the face of hunting and fishing.”