July 14th, 2010

Special Forces Sgt. Assists Veterans Despite His Own Injuries

This profile of disabled veteran Dwight Hayes (Sgt. U.S. Army, retired) first appeared in the NRA Blog. While competing in the Airgun match at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Colorado, Hayes was interviewed by NRA correspondent Lars Dalseide. Hayes’ strong will and his determination to serve others provides an inspiration for all of us.

Dwight Hayes Special ForcesSgt. Dwight Hayes — Overcoming Adversity by Lars Dalseide
Dwight Hayes is a regular at the Bracken Rifle & Pistol Range in San Antonio, Texas. With his Lone Star cap snugly in place, he goes to the range to work on guns, organize shoots, and gather with friends. It’s a long way from his time as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but it’s time well spent.

“If you’re in San Antonio, Bracken is the place to be,” said Hayes. “Bracken and the folks at Alamo Mobility have been great to us disabled vets.” Working with disabled veterans is of great importance to Dwight. It’s an attitude he developed while hospitalized after a failed High Altitude Low Opening, or HALO, jump. Having more than a hundred such jumps under his belt, this one should have been all but routine.

Dwight Hayes Special Forces“I broke one of my rules,” smiled Hayes, adding: “Gotta stick to the rules.”

So what are the rules?

“During a HALO jump, you’re okay if you can see the road. If you see the cars, you’re still okay. If you can make out the color of the car, you’re still okay. If you can tell the difference between a Ford and a Chevy, you’re still okay. If you can make out the gender of the driver, you’re still okay. But if you can make out the license plate, then you’re in trouble.”

Before there’s a chance to react, Dwight rocks his wheelchair with laughter and slaps my back. Apparently the story is a standard. “They love that one back at Audie Murphy.”

Hayes refers to the Audie Murphy Veterans Memorial Hospital back in San Antonio. According to Hayes, they have one of the best Spinal Cord Injury Centers in the country. It’s also where he spent two years recovering from his failed HALO jump. Now he goes there to comfort those new to the ward.

Dwight Hayes Special Forces“I know what it’s like,” Hayes said. “I know all about time alone, watching the walls, sitting in an empty hospital. I go there and get them out.”

With assistance from Audie Murphy and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Hayes and other vets do their best to take the patients out into field. Everything from deep sea fishing to time on the range (sponsored by Winchester) to hunting trips.

“They even have a deer lease,” said Hayes. “Got a doe and an eight-point buck last season.”

The main lesson he tries to pass on is perseverance. He shares this through the story of his injury, his rehabilitation, and his twenty-five years in the U.S. Army. “The injury occurred eighteen years in,” Hayes explained. “I was able to serve a full twenty-five because I successfully petitioned for reinstatement after demonstrating that I could still do my job. Maybe, some of the kids at Audie will hear that and know they can still be productive too.” And that, too, will be time well spent.

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July 14th, 2010

Top Shot TV Show Seeks Cast Members for Season Two

The History Channel’s new Top Shot television series is half-way through its summer season run. It has attracted millions of viewers already and has been renewed for a second season. The show has been fairly controversial among the “real gun guys” who have tuned in. Some folks say that any show which portrays the shooting sports in a positive light and helps broaden interest in shooting is a good thing. Others have complained that Top Shot has too little actual shooting and too much “Survivor”-style inter-personal drama. This Editor has watched all the episodes so far. I think the last two shows, which featured AR15s and Kentucky rifles, certainly showcased the competitors’ rifle skills.

Top Shot TV Casting

In any event, Top Shot has garnered a large-enough TV audience that it will be renewed for next year. The show’s production company, Pilgrim Films & Television, has issued a “casting call” for new cast members for Top Shot’s second season. Below is the casting announcement, with links to application forms. Note the DEADLINE: Candidates must apply on or before August 12, 2010!

History Channel Now Casting for Season 2 of Top Shot!

If you are skilled with a pistol, rifle or any other firearm, you could win $100,000 in prizes on season 2 of History Channel’s hit competition show TOP SHOT. Producers are looking for anyone with mind-blowing shooting skills and a big personality to take on exciting physical challenges with multiple guns and mystery projectile weapons.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professionally trained shooter or a self-taught, average Joe (or Jane!). As long as you’re in good physical shape, have mastered a firearm and can adapt to new weapons and demanding physical situations, you could be America’s next “Top Shot”. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, a resident or citizen of the United States and reasonably proficient with shooting and marksmanship.

To apply, email TopShotCasting@gmail.com with your name, city/state, phone number, a recent photo of yourself and a brief explanation of why you should be on the show.

Deadline to apply is August 12, 2010. For more info, visit www.PilgrimFilms.tv and click on “CASTING” or call 818-478-4570. You can get a head start on the casting process by downloading a casting application and eligibility requirements form below:

Download Casting Application (Hard Copy) | Download Casting Application (Editable .PDF file)

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »