Ft. Hood Soldier's Dream to Come True, Elk Hunters Vow

Ft. Hood Soldier's Dream to Come True, Elk Hunters Vow
Ft. Hood Soldier's Dream to Come True, Elk Hunters Vow
From Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation press release

MISSOULA, Mont.—U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Patrick Zeigler, shot four times at Fort Hood, Tex., on Nov. 5, dreams of recovering well enough to go elk hunting someday.

That wish has become a welcome command for a battalion of hunters eager to help.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an organization made up primarily of hunters focused on conserving habitat for elk and other wildlife, has adopted Zeigler as one of its own. Members have vowed to make the soldier’s dream come true—as well as support him through the grueling rehab and surgeries that stand between him and his first adventure in elk country.

When I told Patrick about the offer to go elk hunting, it was one of the few times I’ve seen his eyes light up since he’s been in the hospital. He loves to hunt and fish and be outdoors. He always wanted to hunt elk but never had a chance. Now, that experience is one of the things he’s driving for,” said Zeigler’s father, Pat, a career serviceman now standing vigil by his son’s side.


Zeigler, 28, was wounded when a gunman opened fire inside a crowded processing center at the Texas military base. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 others wounded before police shot and apprehended the accused shooter. Some of the survivors remain in critical condition, including Zeigler who still has bullets lodged in his head, shoulder and hip. A fourth bullet passed through his forearm. He is paralyzed on his left side and has begun treatment at a facility in Austin, Tex.


A graduate of Florida State University, volunteer fireman in his hometown and husband to be, Zeigler served two combat tours in Iraq. He had just been selected for officer candidate school before finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time at Fort Hood.

In the days after the shooting, Zeigler told a chaplain of his elk-hunting dream. The chaplain contacted Jim Zumbo, an outdoor writer and former RMEF board member devoted to providing hunting experiences for military heroes. Zumbo, in turn, called RMEF President and CEO David Allen.

“When I heard Patrick’s story, I knew our members would jump at the chance to help this guy. As soon as he’s able to go, we have a donated elk hunt waiting for him,” said Allen. “I’m humbled at the sacrifices that Patrick and his family have made, and pleased that we can offer him something meaningful to help him through a difficult time.”

Allen added, “We are not going to let Patrick and others be forgotten after the news and headlines go away. He deserves better. We want to be a part of his recovery as well as his life.”


RMEF members are offering moral support to Zeigler via Christmas cards, letters, small gifts and donations to a trust fund.

Although RMEF members are communicating directly with the Zeigler family, other supporters can get involved through Operation AC, a group that compiles and ships supplies, cards and letters to soldiers, including families affected by the Fort Hood shooting. Send to Ft. Hood, Injured c/o OPAC, 560 Peoples Plaza #121, Newark, DE 19702. More info at www.operationac.com or frankie@operationac.com.

The Zeigler family has set up a trust fund at a hometown bank. Send to SSG Zeigler, Patrick Trust Account, American National Bank of Texas, 5809 Wesley St., Greenville, TX 75402; (903) 455-7592.


Zeigler’s friends launched a web site, www.healpatrickzeigler.com, for additional info.

Allen has invited Zeigler to the annual RMEF convention in Reno in March, and is hoping the soldier is “well enough to attend and get to know his new elk hunting family.”

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.6 million acres—a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

Electric Filet Knife from Bubba Blades

Electric Filet Knife from Bubba Blades

As OSG's Lynn Burkhead looks on, Josh Neville shows off the cordless and corded versions of a new electric filet knife from Bubba Blades.

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Catfish

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

We Coyote hunters spend a lot of time ringing the dog's dinner bell when we call. But we are Stories

Call Our Complex Coyotes

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 13, 2017

We Coyote hunters spend a lot of time ringing the dog's dinner bell when we call. But we are

How a humble Virginia hunter bagged the biggest non-typical whitetail a bowhunter has ever seen. Whitetail

The Story Behind Brewster's World-Record Buck

Lynn Burkhead - October 17, 2019

How a humble Virginia hunter bagged the biggest non-typical whitetail a bowhunter has ever...

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human Stories

Coyotes In Suburbia

Stephen D. Carpenteri - November 30, 2016

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos Gomez. In this article, Gomez recounts his experiences from his first nighttime poaching bust. Stories

Behind the Badge: A Warden's First Night-Poaching Bust

Game & Fish Online Staff - July 30, 2018

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.