Brown enjoys fresh air at BuckmastersPublished 10:27am Friday, January 18, 2013
Even though David Brown wasn’t among the 11 hunters who bagged a deer during the annual Buckmasters Life Hunt at Sedgefields Plantation near Safford, Ala., the reward was just being there.
Brown doesn’t remember what happened on September 11, 2010, but it was horrific.
A corporal in the Montgomery Police Department, Brown was on duty as a motorcycle policeman for a funeral procession.
It was Brown’s duty to close side streets in advance of the procession, which required him to pass the procession en route to the next intersection.
As Brown was moving to the next intersection, a member of the procession unexpectedly pulled out and didn’t see Brown coming. The collision left Brown with life-threatening injuries.
To exacerbate Brown’s tenuous position, the ambulance that was transporting him to the hospital could not negotiate an on-ramp and tipped over on its side.
Brown ended up with head trauma and lost his left arm and right leg because of the injuries.
Before his accident, Brown was a hunter and angler, but the thing he missed most was that fresh air of the outdoors.
“Being outside is the main thing, and being able to hang out with the people who enjoy the same things that you do,” Brown said. “Getting a chance to come to Buckmasters has been a real pleasure. They help you in any way you need help.”
Tommy Brown, David’s father, admits the rehabilitation has been a long, difficult process, but both are optimistic.
“We’re progressing fairly well on the learning how to walk part,” said the elder Brown. “We do rehab three times a week for two hours at a time. ”
David spent almost three months in intensive care at Baptist South in Montgomery and then was transferred to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
“The Shepherd Center is a wonderful place for a spinal cord injury, brain injury or real serious physical injury,” said the elder Brown. “It’s a wonderful rehabilitation place.”
Being able to participate in the Buckmasters Life Hunt is a rehabilitation that can’t be found in hospitals, said Brown’s father.
“My son loves hunting,” he said. “Being outside like this gives him comfort.”
“When Cpl. Brown got hurt, we felt like he was one of our own,” Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association (ACEOA) Executive Director Rusty Morrow said. “We followed Cpl. Brown closely after the accident, like thousands of other people around Montgomery. We felt like once he was able, we wanted to be the ones to get him back in the outdoors first.”
Brown said he was humbled by being picked by the ACEOA.
“I thought it was really generous and I really appreciate getting to go,” Brown said. “The stuff you get to do, being outside and hanging out with people like this has been really nice.”
Alabama State Trooper Bryan Hamrick, an experienced hunter who was formerly with the Montgomery Police Department, helped Brown during the Buckmasters hunt.
“I don’t have to do much,” Hamrick said. “He does most of it himself.
I’m just here in case he needs a little extra hand. I set the gun up for him, and that’s all I have to do. He’ll tell me what he wants to shoot and what he doesn’t.”
For Buckmasters founder and CEO Jackie Bushman, the Life Hunt is a celebration of overcoming disabilities to continue a beloved outdoors lifestyle.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years that we’ve been doing the Buckmasters Life Hunt,” Bushman said. “To see the smiles on all these hunters’ faces is something I always look forward to. To date, we’ve taken more than 7,000 disabled and terminally ill people into the field.”
Other than Troy, Jacob and Chase Landry of the Swamp People, stars from the world of Major League Baseball also joined in making the hunt special.
Tuscaloosa native David Robertson, a relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, presented the participants with an official Yankees jersey, while Huntsville native Craig Kimbrel, a relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, passed out official Braves game caps.
“It’s an honor to be invited here,” said Kimbrel, who enjoys bowhunting with fellow Braves reliever Jonny Venters. “It’s a great cause. It’s awesome to see these people get to hunt and all the smiles on their faces.”
Rainer is an outdoor columnist for The Outlook