My wife and I have been there for a few years and help out in every way we can. I have never met such wonderful people as the LEEK "bunch" and what they do for veterans is incredible. I am so happy we got involved with them and look forward to many years of supporting them.
This non-profit is all volunteer, which means every penny goes to helping the Wounded Men and Women. I have been a volunteer for 3 years now, and it just keeps getting better and better. From the first time I was there, I fell in love with the people and the mission. It is so rewarding to be able to give back and help in anyway possible, to these men and women who have put there lives on the line for our freedom. And as a result of that decision, became wounded and/or disabled as a result. To be able to help them heal, physically, mentally and spiritually, is the the least I can do for them....Dave Waters
The L.E.E.K. hunt is a great chance to give back something to our wounded heroes. This is an "all volunteer" organization that is completely reliant on it's sponsors and contributions from the public. I can say, that it has been my pleasure and an honor to help these warriors in any way that I can. To be honest, we laugh, cry, talk, listen, and just be there for them, whatever they need. It is all about them. the volunteers work from early in the morning until late at night to make everything go smoothly. The entire community supports the effort. I am proud to be a small part of it
1. What is your "main" purpose for volunteering your time to help our Wounded Warriors?
It's to give back something of myself to those that have given so much more. LEEK's purposes could not be accomplished without a heavy dose of volunteerism. And I find huge satisfaction in engaging these warriors on a more personal level. Sweeping floors, carrying firewood and picking up trash, the myriad of mundane but essential tasks in the LEEK effort, opens the door. I need to generate credibility before they consider opening up, because they eventually find out that I'm an active duty Navy Captain, they're pretty sharp. On this last trip several the young Marines couldn't believe that I would take leave and use my own resources to get from California to support them in their activities. And I'm thinking, why wouldn't I?
2. From your perspective, how have they responded to, and benefited from, having the opportunity to hunt and fish?
All you have to do is look at their smiles when they bring in their deer or drop a pheasant in full flight. It gets them out of their hospital setting and gets them doing something completely different and rewarding. For some a completely new experience, for others a familiar one they left behind to serve. And the community support is outstanding. They're treated like someone special, because they are. It's good for their morale, good for their spirits, good for their healing, mentally and physically, good for them to know there are people out there that recognize their tremendous contribution and sacrifices to our nation.
Both my wife and I have been volunteers at the LEEK Hunting and Mountain Preserve for several years. All the people associated with this organization are serving as volunteers for one reason - serving the wounded service men and women. It is an endeavor of the heart, and it shows. We are constantly amazed at the attitude of these wounded troops. They all, for the most part, have positive attitudes, and have accepted their injuries, and are anxious to get on with their life. We are honored to associate with these individuals.
I don't know how to start this out as I am not a very good writer. I hope I can convey the upmost respect I have for this organization,volunteers and the family that started it. For me this started with a grandpa's love for potter co. and the same love and values Lew and Ed's dad had for hunting and fishing. My grandpa loved potter co. as I do. I am self employeed and a veteran myself. My wife and I always take our vacation/aniversary the second week of deer season and this is where it started for me. My wife picked up a copy of mountain home magazine and the article about L.E.E.K was in there she read it and told me I should read it. A couple days later she asked if I read it yet. I said no so I sat and read it and told her I have to drive up and find this place. My grandpas cabin is about 30-45 min. away so I drove up and got to meet Ed Fisher one of the founders. Ed took the time to show me around and explain where they started and the future they were striving for. I knew at this point I wanted to help in some way. I am not a rich man by no means so I was hoping they could use another volunteer. As it turned out they took me in and treated me like I was there for ever. Ed,Lew,Kate,Elaine and Kelly the founders are the sweetest down to earth poeple you will ever meet. They are dedicated 100% to seeing that the veteran's they see at camp have a good experince and can take home some good memories. I have only just begun to help alittle, the few times I was there the volunteer's spend as much time and are as dedicated as any I have ever seen and this includes the support of all neighbors. I have seen the neighbors bring truck loads of food all ready prepaired for the vets when they come from the feild. I always wanted to help somewhere and vets are near and dear to my heart. When you add vets,potter co.,wanting to honor my grandpa and L.E.E.K. add them together what a combination. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating please do so your time any money I know for a fact is so much appreciated and will keep veterans in the field hunting and fishing and just having a good time. First and formost to all the veterans to L.E.E.K and all the volunteers you have my upmost graditude and thanks. I hope to keep volunteering and helping where I can. Rick L. Lint
My name is Amber Woods and I am a volunteer at LEEK Hunting & Mountain Preserve in Oswayo where I serve as the preserve's Public Affairs Officer. The time I spend at LEEK is the most meaningful hours of my life. Since becoming involved with the program, I have seen veterans come back to life with the joy of knowing life goes on after severe injuries-and it goes on quite well! The Fisher family who founded the preserve, the surrounding community who all pitch in and cook meals, serve as guides for the wounded warriors and embrace us is something you can't find any other place on earth. I often write about it in feature stories about our Wounded Warriors, but the truth about LEEK is simple and yet so profound: when we love each other and take care of our own, magical things happen.
This is one of most close to American Loving back to nature organizations Ive ever been involved with. I support this with all my hart and soul. Thanks and GOD bless Randy.
LEEK is a non-profit brings injured warriors to "God's Country Potter County, Pennsylvania for hunting trips. Leek supplies everything the warriors need for a successful hunt... dry warm housing - Dunham Barracks named after local Medal of Honor recipient Corporal Jason Dunham, meals, hunting gear, guides and many local landowners have opened their properties to the warriors. Our warriors come to us in wide variety of conditions from wheelchair bound, to limbs missing, traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries. LEEK allows these warriors to realize they can still do the things they loved to do prior to their injuries. I've had a number of them thank me time and time again for showing them they can do things they once did.
Love working with Team LEEK and seeing the reaction from these wounded soldiers of the outpouring from the community. It is really overwhelming to them that we care, and we do care and appreciate everything that these HEROES have done for this country. My son and his Boy Scout Troop 558 of Millport, have done several hours of community service for LEEK, and Team LEEK takes care of our scouts too, including letting them campout for the weekend of their annual Open House in May. I have several photos of the scouts and the wounded warriors, including Jason Dunhams' parents. This program helps these warriors forget for a minute that they are wounded or injured and CAN do outdoor activities.
Me and my wife are personall freinds of the owners of LEEK and what this family has done for the wounded warriors and the surrounding community support to provide recreation for the wounded soldiers and their families while at Leek has far exceeded expectations that we wittnessed what has been provided for the brave warriors. This outpouring of support for what these warroirs have done for this country so we can enjoy what we have today is so much appreciated and anything we can do to help raise donations so the facilities can accomidate any warrior with disabilities to be able to enjoy the outdoors and help take away pain and stress to give back for what they have done for USA. You can see the happiness on the warriors for something like LEEK provides to help rehabilitate the fine warriors.
The L.E.E.K. preserve, located near Oswayo, Pennsylvania, offers an invaluable service to America's Wounded Warriors. This venue offers guided hunts to service members who might not otherwise be able to enjoy nature's splendor. Volunteer guides direct the hunts and get to spend time with those who have served our country valiantly.
L.E.E.K is an outgstanding organization, which has provided excellent service to our well-deserving wounded warriors. These men and women of the Armed Services have taken the time to protect us and keep us safe. L.E.E.K is a great organization that helps us say a hearty "Thank You."
This review is dedicated for the LEEK Hunting and Mountain Preserve in Oswayo, Pennsylvania.
I am pleased to say that in my many years of volunteering, I have never met a more dedicated group of individuals committed to excellence.
As a veteran business owner in upstate NY I would have to say to my readers that if you want to understand some of the challenges facing our returning soldiers...volunteer at LEEK.
You will not only strengthen your skills at farming or preparation of game for that soldier who has spent one of the most incredible weeks of their lives hunting, fishing, socializing and only to realize that tomorrow is already here and it's time to go home.
You will quickly learn that preparing to receive 10 soldiers for a week long hunt takes many months in preparation. From the small outdoor shows to the major indoor events...Team LEEK is there, letting America know that they truly care.
More importantly, when you finally grasp a moment to visit and talk with those soldiers who have made sacrifices and listened to their story of how the visit to LEEK has impacted their lives...you begin to understand the significance of your efforts.
I have had the distinct honor of meeting hero's and their families, shared grief with those who have lost a son or daughter, seen an entire town come together to continually support what I consider America's finest outdoor recreational program for our wounded soldiers.
You won't find some commercial based program with penned animals who hover around a feeder, no expensive film crew to please wealthy supporters...you will only find a pure Pennsylvania hunting and outdoor experience provided by pure individuals who truly care.
I am honored to have served my country, more importantly, I am honored to serve those who have sacrificed.
I VOLUNTEER AT LEEK. ALTHOUGH I AM NOT A VET I HAVE BEEN A DOUBLE AMPUTEE FOR 28 YEARS. I ENJOY SHARING MY EXPERIENCES WITH THE VETS THAT VISIT. BEING A PART OF LEEK HAS BEEN SO REWARDING FOR ME. SEEING THE VISITORS AND VOLUTEERS ENJOY EVERYDAY LIFE WITH OUT LIMITATIONS MAKE ME PROUD TO BE A VOLUNTEER. I AM VERY THANKFUL FOR MY FRIENDS, THE FISHER FAMILY, WHO MAKES LEEK AN ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE FOR ALL.
My wife and I have known the founders of LEEK for over 20 years, with Lou serving in the Coast Guard and Ed in the Army, both now retired. The first time we volunteered we had no idea what to expect but we soon found out this was a great thing we were involved with. On the surface it seems a small effort is all that it takes to operate, once into it, one can see that it could easily be a full time job.
Being a part of LEEK has allowed us to give back to the returning vets by helping with the farm and equipment needs and assisting anywhere we can. To see the smiles on the soldiers faces as they move freely around the property with or without assistive devices is a blessing. I have seen sullen faces turn into beaming smiles, men in wheelchairs turn into children when they find the motorized track wheelchair and can navigate the slopes and inclines most of us don't even realize would be a problem. The community has come together around LEEK and has embraced it as an orginization which is great, but they have embraced the people of LEEK even more atesting to the spirit of the people behind the effort. I look forward to our volunteer time and I personally recharge when we spend time with Ed, Kate and Kelly. I will continue helping behind the scenes or wherever needed at LEEK as long as I am allowed to by man or by my Maker.
Thank you LEEK for providing us an outlet to serve this generation of Warriors.
Lasagna & Soldiers
A few of years ago I went on a DICE Run for a place called L.E.E.K. Hunting & Mountain Preserve. The DICE Runs are motorcycle rides put together for “good causes.” During the rides, there are stops where you roll dice, purchase raffle tickets, buy chances (you get the idea.) At the end of the ride everybody turns in their little papers, which were used to keep track of the dice rolls. One of the ride organizers sits there and figures out who rolled the highest throughout the day and the High Roller wins half the money that’s been collected. (High Roller always give their half back to the organization that we’re riding for)… nice, right? They’re always a lot of fun, and nice amounts of money are donated to the cause that the ride was set up for! I’m sure most of you have even participated in such events. I’m trying to paint a picture here… bear with me. Oh, yeah… Chinese auctions are part of the fund raising events, also…
After that ride for L.E.E.K., I found myself thinking about that place. I thought “that really is a wonderful idea, that L.E.E.K. place…” The long and short of this place is this… it’s two Brothers, US Military Brothers who, in memory of their DAD, came up with a hunting and fishing get-away-and-have-fun place for severely injured Soldiers! I cried the first time I was there. I cry every time I think about it. I can’t help it – I’m a weenie like that!
The wounded Soldiers who get to enjoy this little adventure are (a lot of them) coming right out of the US Military Hospitals. Most of them are young. They’re missing body parts. Sometimes both legs are gone, sometimes half of a leg. They’re blind in one eye because of an injury. Some are missing half of an arm. Some have all of their limbs, but the limbs don’t work anymore because of a brain injury. Brain injuries are caused by the Soldiers suffering strokes due to severe blood loss. Other Soldiers suffer brain injury caused by concussions they’ve suffered from bombs used in the wars today. Some “look” okay, but they’re having a hard time of it, mentally/emotionally. The L.E.E.K. gang welcome one and all… well, all that they can – it’s a small operation. Oh, I forgot to tell you, the name of the guys who started this whole thing, are Edward and Lewis Fisher. Their wives are also part of the team, as well as the volunteers. The “L” is for Lewis, one “E” is for Edward Fisher, the other “E” is for Elaine, who is married to Lewis and the “K” is for Kate Fisher, who is Ed’s wife.
Anyway, I found myself always thinking about this place. Thinking about how much damn fun those Soldiers were having. I kept thinking about their smiles and the way they all razzed one another. The volunteers who take the Soldiers out on the actual hunts and/or fishing for the day drag all kinds of gear out to the hunting blinds and tree stands (if the Soldiers can use a tree stand.) They take whatever the Soldiers need to the bank of a lake, or to the edge of a river. Volunteers are taking wheel chairs, crutches, braces, etc. The hunting/fishing guides carry Soldiers, when they have to! Some Soldiers can ride on 4-Wheelers. They do whatever the hell they need to do to get them to their hunting and/or fishing spots! They make this a fun time, a healing time, and a memorable time. Thankfully, L.E.E.K. recently was able to purchase (because of donations) these two really cool track chairs… they go over all kinds of terrain. That saves the backs of the volunteers who carry the Soldiers and allows the Soldiers to be more independent! Nice, right???!!!
I also found myself going to their website, reading more about it. What didn’t make any sense is why I would be drawn to something that had to do with hunting! I am not a fan of hunting (I let spiders out of my house, unless its winter time, then they can stay) … nor, am I an advocate of these wars! SO, what the hell? Why can’t I shake thinking about it? THEN, it hit me!!! It doesn’t matter what my political views are…. And it’s also not about whether I’m a fan of hunting.
I FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT!!! Why I kept feeling a pull. It was seeing what I had seen. It was the life altering injuries of these young Men. It was me feeling guilty for NOT doing something to pay back! What the hell took me so long to finally figure it out (I thought???!!!) I OWE THESE SOLDIERS MY SUPPORT! They deserve a week of fun, a week of “feeling normal again!” THANK GOD it only took me like a year to figure this out! I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!
I started out small… I started out by going back to the L.E.E.K. website to see what they needed. There’s a wish list on the site. Hunting blinds were on their list. Okay… I saved up my money… and ordered them a hunting blind. I drove over to drop it off to Lewis Fisher… he was very, very appreciative. I thought “Oh, good, I did something.” Well, that must not have been enough because I was still always thinking about that place. Okay – back to the L.E.E.K. website (after a couple of months of those Soldiers still popping up in my head)… Oh, look… they have people who volunteer to make meals for everybody, when the Soldiers come out. I can cook – I just don’t cook very often.
Here comes the Lasagna part of my title… see, how I’ve made you guys read all of this to get to the Lasagna part???!!! Anyway, I make a kick ass Lasagna. That was the meal that I made. I had to take a day off of work – that’s how much time was needed for the amount that I made. I’m (now) famous for my Lasagna! I’m also getting more involved with this wonderful place. I’ve brought my Son over to volunteer. The Dice runs continue… Ed Fisher has asked if I would join the “Open House Committee”… I feel very humbled and honored that the Fisher Family thinks that much of me. Ed also thinks that I would be good at fund raising. Thought that it would be a good thing for me to do – you know, bring me out of my shell. Give me practice in speaking out, meeting people, mingling… since I’m such a shy and quite person. (KIDDING!)
Thank GOD for L.E.E.K. Hunting & Mountain Preserve. They have made me a better person. I’ve got a long way to go… but, I’m pointed in the right direction thanks to them!
It’s simple really, RESPECT FOR OUR HEROES!
I have volunteered at LEEK since it was started and it has moved me in ways it's hard to describe. I really just donate my time and do whatever I can to help during big events such as the open house and some big hunts. First the organization brings out the absolute best in everyone involved. When you help out at LEEK you're physically helping out wounded vets and there families. One specific example I can remember is a soldiers wife drove up from VA straight through to pick him up, she was exhausted. When she arrived we got her a bed to sleep in and then we moved almost all the activities for that day away from the place where she was sleeping to let her rest... This is a weird story to tell but I think it provides the best example of the overall level of caring that this organization puts into wounded vets and there families. They treat them like you would treat your relatives when they come to your house for a vacation or celebration. This is what sets LEEK apart from other organizations.
I have been helping with the fall LEEK Preserve Wounded Warrior hunt for the past two years and have found it to be an event of comaraderie and healing for those who participate as well as those who volunteer. The sacrifices made by the brave men who are served by this organization far outweigh the time and effort we could ever dedicate to honoring them.