On November of 2009, a madman at Fort Hood opened fire on our troops, killing 13 and wounding 30. Patrick Zeigler was one of the most seriously wounded, shot four times, including one devastating bullet into his skull.
When Patrick was hanging onto his life he communicated that he'd like to go elk hunting. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation got wind of his desire, and began the motions to make his wish come true. RMEF "adopted" Patrick, honoring him on stage at several conventions. During that time, Patrick continued to struggle with his injuries, with more visits to Walter Reed and other hospitals.
It took several years for his elk hunt to become a reality. He was invited by the UU Bar Ranch in New Mexico, and last fall he took this beautiful bull. Patrick and his wife Jessica and young son Liam were honored on stage last night at the convention. Hankies were required.
I've been profoundly fortunate to have taken Patrick on two bear hunts, the first one in Alaska. Here we are on the hunt. Jessica is pregnant with Liam. Patrick didn't get a bear, but we had a great time seeing the Alaska sights.
Then I took him on a bear hunt in North Carolina. He scored on this one, and you can tell by the smiles all around that we were all happy campers.
In this photo, we pose with the Zeigler family at Walter Reed hospital while Patrick was undergoing treatments last year. In this picture, on the left, is Christina Holden, who has been assisting me with wounded warrior hunts for many years.
It's been my privilege to see Patrick improve as he has, and to see Liam grow and Jessica the quintessential wife and mother.
We're posing in this picture after the tribute Thursday night. Patrick's service dog, Ranger, was a big hit as well.
We all salute you, Patrick, for your service and sacrifice, and your wonderful family.