A recent 3-day turkey hunt for veterans, at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, was a remarkable success and not only because they harvested a bunch of turkeys. Take a look at the photo that accompanies this column and I think you’ll know what I mean. The hunt was part of the Veterans Adaptive Sports and Training Program.
A few years ago the Libra Foundation purchased Pineland, and they’ve done some remarkable things there, with a special focus on home-grown food including beef and vegetables. Their farm-to-table dinners are always sold out and their market is a very busy place. You can now purchase their products in many supermarkets.
As Craig Denekas, Libra’s President and CEO, told me, “We’ve been fortunate to have a venue of about 5,000 acres to do some interesting things.”
One of those interesting things happened a few weeks ago. “We organized a veterans’ three-day turkey hunt,” said Craig, “in conjunction with Mossy Oak (gear), Cabella’s (ammo), some local guides, a few local game wardens, and Smoldering Lake Outfitters. I wish more people could have seen it,” he noted. Indeed.
“Maine was in all its glory and the turkeys did not disappoint,” Craig reported. “The Turkey THUGS program sponsored by Mossy Oak was there to film, which should be fun when it comes out.” I can’t wait to see that!
Kristina Sabasteanski, the director of the Pineland Farms veterans program and an occupational therapist, has worked over the last four years with 150 veterans. She’s also married to an Iraq War veteran and has lost a brother in military combat, so this program means a lot to her personally.
The folks from Mossy Oak told Craig it was, “some of the best turkey hunting they had experienced.” The Mossy Oak team stayed at one of Pineland’s guest farmhouses.
“We have some very special things we all tend to take for granted in Maine,” said Craig, “so it is always fun to see an outsider’s eyes light up when they see just how much is outside our doorstep.”
Another reminder of how privileged we are to live, and hunt, in Maine.