Disabled veterans and avid skeet shooters in wheelchairs across the country are exercising their right to bear arms–for fun! They really get a bang out of it!
Jim Trombley, a Navy veteran with a spinal cord injury, holds the firearm close to his cheek, eyes focused along the barrel as he waits with anticipation for his target to appear. The command “Pull” is given, and a bright-orange clay bird flies into the air. Trombley quickly calculates the exact moment to pull the trigger and fires. The response is a satisfying crack as the clay bird splits in half.
In the Navy, Trombley was an electronics technician stationed on the U.S.S. Batfish. He spent much of the mid-eighties in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean seas.
Along with other vets with spinal cord injuries, Trombley’s skilled shots ring out at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Jay Henges Shooting Range in High Ridge. MO. The veterans are under the care of the Spinal Cord Injury Ward at Jefferson Barracks Hospital. The outing was organized by the High Ridge Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post.
“This has really gotten me interested in shooting again,” said Trombley. “I now have a new hobby.”
“All these guys have some kind of spinal injury, and many are in wheelchairs, so these vets don’t have a lot they get to do outside,” explained Jim Napoli, commander of the High Ridge VFW Post.
These veterans come to the range once a month and follow a course that has them shooting on the shotgun field and the rifle and pistol range. They can also learn archery if they choose to do so. The VFW post provides lunch, ammunition and staff to manage the event.
“The MDC is gracious enough to offer the fields, targets, and waive the fees,” Napoli said.
The VFW hopes that the events provide a good therapy option for the veterans, as well as a chance to get them out and socializing.
“Things like this really help in making friends and team building,” Trombley said.
“It just kind a makes my day,” Napoli said. “When you see them out there having a good time, it’s got to put a smile on your face. It’s a way to bring a little happiness to those guys and let them know they’re not forgotten.”
Watch these disabled veterans in wheelchairs participate a trapshooting competition! What wheelchair sports are you gunning for?