Story and Photos by Mac Minard
Montana Outfitters and Guides Association
When Joshua Wofford crossed the Iraqi berm on March 20, 2003 as part of the American force headed to Baghdad he did not know it would be 93 more days before he had the simple pleasure of a shower. During Operation Iraqi Freedom he and his team fought every day with little food and rest during that push to Baghdad six yeas ago.
Now back home Joshua has time to come to Montana and enjoy a well deserved trip to hunt mule deer in eastern Montana. Montana Outfitters and Guides Big Hearts under the Big Sky have teamed up with Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) to provide a special trip for this extraordinary man.
John and Jeanie Wilkinson of Cottonwood Outfitters hosted Joshua. They welcomed into their home and shared meals with friends and family. As you can see from the pictures he enjoyed the benefits of fellowship, the grandeur of the western outdoors and the opportunity to collect a nice mule deer.
On Thanksgiving Day of 2009, I was treated to a Mule deer hunt in Montana by H.A.V.A. (Honored American Veterans Afield). The trip was unbelievable from start to finish. Everyone acted as if they were all friends of mine that I had not seen in some time. From meeting Mac Minard (with Montana Outfitters and Guides Association) at the airport in Billings to shaking hands John Wilkinson (Cottonwood Outfitters) and after scoring big on a nice Mule deer buck, the trip had that unique feeling of camaraderie.
As I boarded the plane to head home that following Monday, I not only left Montana with a nice trophy and some good memories, I left with new friendships and a more positive outlook.
All throughout this nations’ history you can read about men and women coming together to do great things. During our time period, H.A.V.A. and M.O.G.A. are two organizations that are made up of those people. As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I can honestly say that it is the Mac Minards and Tom Talyors out there that made my career as an Infantry Soldier worthwhile. I could not have asked for anything else that would made my Montana Mule deer hunt anymore rewarding.
Thank you, Joshua Wofford
Army Infantry Veteran
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Like thousands of others, Joshua, through his service to our country has helped keep us free to enjoy the pleasures of a hunt in Montana. Our young men and women are enduring the hardships of war every day. Through the Big Hearts under the Big Sky program Montana’s outfitters are making their operations much more then a destination. These trips serve as springboard back to a productive life and an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends in a comfortable setting. They are also a way for us all to say thank you one soldier at a time.
We at MOGA were honored to host Joshua on this trip. He earned it!