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.