A salute to the sporting hero

Earlier this year I mentioned in this blog how proud I was to be among a group of ice anglers who came out to support a fund in the name of a fallen New York state trooper. I think what we’ve been seeing with the rescue efforts, particularly with the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, falls along the same lines. Obviously at a much higher magnitude.

Google a group called the “Cajun Navy” and you’ll see what I mean. After a little research you, too, will also be proud to know what our fellow sportsmen and sportswomen are doing to help others in a time of crisis. Even the Washington Post, a publication not exactly friendly to the sporting community, at least where guns are concerned, openly praised the efforts of outdoorsmen in a recent article by sportswriter Sally Jenkins.

What started with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was an effort by the sportsman/boater to rush to the aid of floodwater victims around New Orleans. Anglers, duck hunters and even alligator hunters from the state of Louisiana brought their boats and their knowledge to the rescue effort. Some drove long distances, took time off from work, paid for their own gasoline and worked with emergency responders – with little concern over the danger they could be potentially putting themselves in – to rescue flood victims.

They showed up again in Houston and were joined by even more like-minded boat owners from other states. These selfless acts made all of them heroes – asking for nothing in return but the satisfaction of knowing they could help, knowing they could do something for someone at a difficult time, knowing they could make a difference.

Their efforts are just now coming to the forefront. When you watched the news or the Weather Channel in the days following these tragic storms, you didn’t know who you were seeing coming down a flooded street with a boat full of people, their pets and their belongings. Any angler or hunter might recognize something like the camouflage, the motor or the brand name that sticks out. If so, we immediately knew that the boat usually serves a different purpose and is used for sporting pleasure.

You can bet that if, God forbid, something tragic happened in your hometown or your neighborhood that it would be the same type of hero who would come to your rescue. And many of us sportsmen and sportswomen can confidently look in the mirror and know that, if needed, we would utilize our resources for the benefit of others.

While it’s human nature to help one’s fellow man, in today’s world, where sportsmen and sportswomen often come under fire from critics who don’t consider us politically correct, perhaps there is some light at the end of that tunnel. We’re all just human beings, regardless of if we like to shoot deer or ducks, or to the contrary, live a vegan lifestyle.

All I know is that the next time I get into one of those conversations with someone who looks down their nose at me as they question my sporting lifestyle, I’ll just fill them in on the “Cajun Navy.” And I hope for their sake that they never need them.

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