An inspiring story

October 23, 2008

Faith Outdoors

This morning, I read a great deer hunting story in a magazine I subscribe to called North American Hunter. The tale ends with a young man shooting a trophy buck, but that’s not what had me inspired when I finished reading.

Jake Beckstrom suffered a tragic diving accident in 2005 that left him parazlyzed all the way up to his shoulders. Thanks to supportive family and friends, he was able to enjoy a whitetail deer hunt last year in Wisconsin using a special box blind and a shooting device to fire his crossbow.

In the story, Jake recounted the many weeks and months of physical therapy to help regain the use of his arms and hands. It was exhausting, but he was determined to do everything he could to be able to hunt again.

I’m not sure how many of us would work that hard just to be able to get out in the field and hunt out of a wheelchair. Of course, Jake had no other choice, but I’m impressed that, instead of falling into self pity, he channeled all of his energy into making the most of his limited mobility.

I don’t know why God allows people like Jake to suffer such tragic misfortunes. If we’re honest with ourselves, we realize we all have made mistakes that could have put us in the same situation as Jake. That we have been spared such an immense challenge should cause us to be grateful for God’s mercy.

It also should motivate us to help people like Jake. I have a friend who loves to hunt and has taken men with disabilities out into the field. He has gone as far as Africa to give them premium opportunities. He just got back from a moose hunt in Canada with a man who has a mental disability. They didn’t get a moose, but the man enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

At various times, I fantasize about what kinds of outdoor adventures I’d like to pursue — moose hunting in Alaska, bass fishing in Mexico, turkey hunting in Iowa. Perhaps, my dream should be going out into the woods with someone like Jake.

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek