COTTAGE GROVE, MN. (September 26, 2023) – Growing up in Alaska, Theo Golden spent countless days in the outdoors, hunting with a bow and arrow. “Hunting was how we got our food. It was our grocery store,” said Golden.
Once he turned 18, bow hunting was left behind as he got busy with life. There was college and then more than eight years active-duty in the U.S. Army, which included two tours of duty in Iraq for 28 months.
Today, after serving over eight years in the Army, Golden has rediscovered archery. It is a way, he says, to help alleviate symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.
With the help of Hope For The Warriors and its Warrior’s Wish program, archery has become much easier and more enjoyable for Golden. He was granted his wish of a STEALTHI-450 Oracle X crossbow, valued at $3,500.
After attending a few hunting trips with other veterans service organizations, he discovered the need for a more accommodating crossbow. In Minnesota, medically qualified hunters are only permitted to use crossbows which Golden is officially permitted for.
“I can’t pull back the bows like I used to due to my disabilities,” Golden explained. “I recently got approved for a permit to hunt with a crossbow. I am now able to go hunting which I haven’t done since before I joined the Army.
“It’s relaxing out in the woods. Being out in the wilderness helps me cope with my disabilities.”
Golden said the crossbow makes bow hunting much easier for him because it has a hand crank to draw the bow string back. “The hand crank makes it easier to operate,” Golden said, noting the new bow also had a scope, which “makes this bow a lot better.”
Golden’s family is steeped in military history. His grandfather was a veteran of World War II, serving in the Navy and then was drafted by the Army for the Korean War and served in Vietnam before retiring from the military. His father served in both the Army and the Air Force and his brother was in the Navy.
Golden began bow hunting while growing up in the tiny Alaskan town of Stone River, population less than 50 and accessible only by airplane. It may have been isolated, but it was a perfect place for a boy learning to hunt.
“Hunting is something I did while growing up and haven’t done since I was 18,” said Golden, who is working to complete his master’s degree in human resource management. “There’s a sense of accomplishment harvesting different game. I eat what I hunt. It reminds me of doing what I did growing up.”
Golden is active in the local VFW chapter and is a member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
“It is exciting for us when we can help bring some normalcy to a veteran’s life and this Warrior’s Wish has certainly helped Theo reconnect with a passion and help with his anxiety and PTSD,” said Robin Kelleher, co-founder and CEO of Hope For The Warriors. “When HOPE can impact someone the way we have with Theo, we are accomplishing our mission.”
As one of the organization’s first established programs, the Warrior’s Wish program fulfills a desire for a better quality-of-life beyond recovery or supports a quest for life-gratifying endeavors for those who have sustained severe physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty.
Since 2006, Hope For The Warriors has provided over $2.5 million in grants, assisting with 271 wishes.
Hope For The Warriors
About Hope For The Warriors: Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a foundation of stability, strength and community for post-9/11 veterans, service members and military families. Since its inception, Hope For The Warriors has served over 159,000 through a variety of support programs focused on providing financial, career and educational stability; physical and emotional strength; and social support that builds community. One of the nonprofit’s first programs, Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarships, has awarded 232 scholarships to caregivers and families of the fallen. For more information, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.