We honored our veterans on Saturday, November 11, and an awesome Montana organization did it in a big way.

One disabled veteran's dream of a Montana elk hunting experience was made possible by the organization Big Hearts Under the Big Sky. They partnered with Double D Outfitters on the Big Spring Ranch near Lewistown to make Veterans Day weekend one that Ethan Whitfield won't soon forget.

Big Hearts Under the Big Sky is a program of the Montana Outfitter and Guides Association. While there are many wonderful organizations throughout the country that host “wish” trips for deserving participants, Big Hearts Under the Big Sky says their is rather unique in that they work with qualified and licensed outfitters and guides throughout Montana to serve both individuals and their families.

This year's honoree, Ethan Whitfield, from Fayetteville NC, has an extraordinary record of service to his country. There were the 16 combat deployments over a 22-year military career. He served with distinction in the 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, 1st Special Forces Group, and the United States Army Special Operations Command.

For his inspiring service, Ethan has been honored with the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart. Sadly, due to injuries in the line of duty, Ethan has been deemed 100% disabled.

Since 2008, Big Hearts Under the Big Sky has covered all expenses for qualifying families to go on these outfitter-supported trips. Big Hearts has touched the lives of hundreds of individuals and their families, donating over half a million dollars in outfitted services to those who’ve given so much for our country.

Ethan's general license was a product of the Purple Heart donation program and his permit was provided by the Big Spring Ranch.  And while we don't have the specifics on how the guided hunt went, we suspect it was a meaningful success regardless of the outcome.

Thank you to Ethan Whitfield and all our veterans for your service. Find out more about all that Big Hearts Under the Big Sky furnishes to honor those who have served, along with details on an upcoming fundraiser banquet in January by visiting here.

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