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Agencies donate funds to nonprofit to benefit veterans

Submitted photo The Warriors in the Field recently took a group of veterans on a fishing trip to Burnsville Lake. Those taking part were Major George Davis, U.S. Army, left, and Sergeant Joey Harper, U.S. Marines, center. They were accompanied by pro angler Andy Godwin.

ELKINS — A host of insurance agencies from around the area recently lent a helping hand to a local organization that takes military veterans to the outdoors on hunting and fishing trips.

Warriors in the Field, a nonprofit created to help veterans struggling with everyday issues and let them know they are not fighting alone, received a total of $1,100 from 11 different agencies from three area counties, Randolph, Barbour and Tucker.

“We had 11 different agencies band together to help local veterans,” Warriors in the Field President Dave Whittaker told The Inter-Mountain Tuesday. “It’s great that these insurance agents have stepped up and given back to the community. We are very appreciative of their support.”

Insurance agencies that donated to Warriors in the Field include: State Farm Agent Nikki Rogers, Skinner Insurance Agency, Pioneer Insurance Agency, Cvechko Insurance Agency, Bialek Insurance Agency, Jodi Parrack Insurance Agency, Ryan Parrack Insurance Agency, Marquette Insurance Agency, Gutshall Insurance Agency, Blackwater Insurance Agency and Jones Insurance Agency.

“Warriors in the Field is a great organization that helps a lot of veterans,” Jeff Stalnaker of Pioneer Insurance told The Inter-Mountain. “They are really active in the area and it’s wonderful how they take all these veterans out on fishing and hunting trips. We were happy to be able to help them out.”

Whittaker said the money will be used to fund a future outing for veterans. Already this year Warriors in the Field have taken veterans on a fishing trip to Burnsville Lake, on a float trip on the New River, on a skeet shooting trip and on three different boar hunts to the southern part of the state.

“Typically what we do is spend the summer months raising money and then we spend it on trips for the veterans during the fall and winter months,” Whittaker said. “We have various things we do to get these veterans outdoors. It really helps them relax and get their minds clean and off a lot of things. It allows them to put the military in the past. The outdoors are very therapeutic to a lot of people.”

The organization has a pheasant hunt planned for the fall, along with two wild boar hunts, and several white-tailed deer excursions. This year alone Warriors in the Field is taking 73 veterans to the outdoors.

Warriors in the Field was started in 2015 by Whittaker and his wife Michele. Whittaker said he started the program as a way to give back to all of the veterans who give up so much to defend the United States.

“I was never able to join the military because of an injury and an illness I had as a kid,” Whittaker said. “With me not being able to serve I wanted to be able to give back to help veterans that were struggling in one manner or another. And Warriors in the Field was the best way I knew to give back.”

The organization has endorsement letters from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Independent Order of OddFellows. In 2018 Whittaker was honored with the OddFellows’ Humanitarian of the Year Award for Randolph County.

The organization invites the community to nominate veterans who would like to join Warriors in the Field on a hunting or fishing trip. Call Whittaker at 304-704-8108 for more information.

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