By: Ted Nugent
My Spirit of the Wild BloodBrother campfires glow bright and hot forever. As I fidget excitedly preparing for my 70th deerseason in 2018, (and my 55th year of killer Rock-N-Roll recording and touring for my 36th album and 6680th concert!!) my overloaded memory bank flashes a tsunami of happy, heartwarming images of the greatest people in my long life aglow in those flickering flames.
These fires and memories go all the way back to the fall of 1949 as the Nugent family created our annual Up North bowhunting expeditions into the Michigan State forests.
Loaded up with blankets, a cast iron skillet, assorted camping supplies, longbows and quivers full of beautiful handmade cedar arrows in our Ford station wagon, even at just 10 months old, such imagery, spirit and powerfully positive family time and attitude surely imprinted on me to identify a path in life that has guided my American Dream to this day.
So many smiling faces and uppity laughter from family and friends fan the flames of those campfires. Every person has been special, every campfire moving. I see my mom and dad, brothers and sister, sons, daughters, wife Shemane, Uncle John and Uncle Dick, all my cousins, Fred Bear, Dick Mauch and so many special people in every flame. I have shared these fires with soldiers, airmen, sailors and marine heroes of the US Military that have sacrificed so much. The indefatigable spirit and attitude of those special needs and terminally ill kids will remain with me forever and make me a better man.
Recent campfires have once again elevated and escalated that spirit and attitude as we welcomed another very special young man from Michigan into our family.
Austin Jones is 21 years old and was stricken with Muscular Dystrophy at the age of six way back in 2003. Born into a gungho Michigan hunting family, the loss of mobility and muscular function didn’t deter or compromise his love of the great outdoors one bit.
Austin is an animal! This guy is incapable of quitting or giving up! He inspires everyone he meets! Austin is the master warrior of improvise, adapt and overcome if ever there was one! He won the 2015 IBO World and National Physically Challenged Bowhunting class, served on the Michigan Natural Resources Commission Youth Council, has successfully bowhunted 4 big game species in 11 different states and hunts constantly here, there and everywhere with his Sherman tank trackchair and Gearhead crossbow! With never ending support and herculean sacrifices from his family, Austin and his dad Jason are on constant safari.
Every time we think we are getting a little overworked or having a bad day, all you have to do is think about Austin Jones and how he charges forward overcoming obstacles and hurdles that make our own just plain silly in comparison. With the difficulty of scheduling and organizing hunting trips, his amazing dad Jason takes off more time from work than they can really afford. If you are inclined to give a helping hand to some of the most deserving and wonderful people on planet earth, get with Jason at [email protected] and think about send a donation to whatever degree you see fit.If you can send a check to; Austin Jones c/o 4008 W. Michigan Ave, Jackson, Michigan 49202, we will see that they get it right away.
Whenever I get ready to embark on my beloved bowhunting adventures, especially when the moment of truth arrives and I prepare for the shot, I always say to myself; “What would Austin do?”
Our BloodBrothers at Freedom Mobility encourage everyone to get off the pavement, and into the woods! Owners Ron Bush, Charlie McDonald and Tammie Smith founded Freedom Mobility, LLC. in 2010 to encourage those with physical challenges to get back into outdoor lifestyle we love. For more information, visit FreedomMobilityllc.com