OSC Hunt gives all a chance to give back

Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter

Markus Urbanik, BEC Warehouseman, gave a short report before the Beartooth Electric Meeting (BEC) on Nov. 28, at the BEC office. While he normally talks about BEC, this time the story was all about representing BEC at this season’s latest Operation Second Chance (OSC) hunt.
The event is sponsored by OSC which originated in Washington, D.C., with Cindy McGrew, helping wounded vets and their families readjust back to the world and to each other, the local Red Lodge OSC has stepped up mightily, independently sponsoring many events now spanning the country.
Urbanik is not a veteran but he says participating “is an opportunity to give back rather than just thanking them.” He is humbled by their gratitude. “They are always thanking you, thanking you for taking time away from your family.”
Many of the recovering vets just completed or are still undergoing surgery, therapy and reorientation. It is a difficult time for them full of stress and often, quite painful. OSC has evolved from providing any immediate assistance in the hospital (which it continues to do) to giving these men and women a break in the extreme change of the beauty of the Montana wilderness.
Marty Tomlin, BEC Staking Technician, went along to assist. OSC is all volunteer.
The November event took place in Hardin at the Sunlight Ranch.
Urbanik explained, “A lot of tags were given for antelope, elk and deer. It was quite a challenge getting out to the field, the time frame, making it all happen.
There were a lot of special moments. He spoke about two of them.
The tags went out but a few soldiers were missing antelope tags.
Anna Hanson, 13-years-old, was also eagerly looking forward to this season’s hunt. She obtained her tag but instead of going hunting, she turned around and gave the tag to OSC.
Markus Urbanik said, “We were looking for an extra tag. I knew some of the folks at Sunlight Ranch had drawn tags. I called Anna Hanson’s dad looking for some.”
Her father said to his daughter, ‘I have a question for you.’” Urbanik said, “She knew already. She said, ‘Yes! I’m going to donate!’ Her father said, ‘Don’t you want to think about it?’ She said ‘no.’”
By that one kind act, a connection was made. She enjoyed meeting the veterans and felt the experience gained was enough.
“It means so much to me that I had the opportunity to donate my tag,” said Hanson. “Donating my tag was the least I could do for the Wounded Warriors when they have served for our country. I hope I get the chance to donate my tag again next year.”
Urbanik found the soldiers bonded quickly. “A few years back one veteran participated.” It was Army Master Sgt. Mark Volman. In 2010, Volman had been wounded in an IED explosion in Afghanistan suffering a broken arm, burns and a traumatic brain injury. He returned not only to participate in this year’s hunt but wanted to become a part of this generous community.
“He’s moved here now and he actually transported one guy (Charlie, Army Vet), one mile and a quarter on his back just so he could get a good (shooting) opportunity. Just to see those two interacting and it coming full circle…” Urbanik was very moved.
He said, “You think about how bad you have it and you see these guys. I had a car accident last year. This changes your attitude. It puts things in perspective.”
“It was a little different this year,” he explained about the hunts. “Sunlight Ranch is very helpful and goes all out. They block out a window of time and no one else is allowed on the ranch.”
He explained, “One of the trappers brought a tent and we had a big barbecue-with all the ranch employees-they were very supportive. There’s a lot of support making this happen. The butchers donate their time and services. Jared (Miller) donates side by sides for transport to the field.”
Tomlin said, “There were two guides for every hunter. There were special ordnance folks (taking the hunt). One was in a tank and hit by roadside bombs. There were three hunters in Hardin, and 2 hunters in Nye.
Founded in 2005, in Maryland by Cindy McGrew, OSC provides support for wounded combat soldiers and Marines while they are at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and further assists them when they transition either back to duty or back to civilian life.
In Red Lodge, the local OSC group added their own unique assistance to wounded vets. Founded almost ten years ago by Hank Tuell, Retired Army Colonel, and now Honorary OSC Board member, and other locals, such as Bob Larson, Retreat Director, have expanded their events across the country, lately being to Alaska and Durango, CO.
But each year, there is always skiing and horseback riding in the Beartooths, area rafting, fishing and four wheeling while enjoying the great hospitality of Red Lodge. The trips in Montana always end with a trip to Yellowstone National Park. As always, the Red Lodge OSC group is all volunteer and Red Lodge hotels, restaurants and many sports facilities go all out to offer free services to the vets and their families. Flights to events are also provided for the families.
According to the Red Lodge volunteers, being out in nature, turns out to be the best break from wounded vets’ surgeries and therapies. It is a rare chance to bond with their spouses amidst the healing beauty of the Beartooth Wilderness and never fails to bring smiles to participants’ faces. See www.operationsecondchance.org.


Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, July 26, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Monday, July 29, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

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