NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Gary Lovell’s devotion to providing outdoor opportunities to individuals with mobility impairments and special needs earned him a national award from the National Wild Turkey Federation.
“[Wheelin’ Sportsmen] events are for the entire family. They help parents and their children with disabilities realize that anyone can go hunting regardless of their limitations,” Lovell said. “I don’t do what I do for recognition: I do it because I am trying to change lives.”
The NWTF determines its award winners based on how their work strengthens the organization’s Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Lovell’s start with the Wheelin’ Sportsmen program began nearly 15 years ago when he attended an event with his son Trey, who at an early age was diagnosed with Duchene muscular dystrophy. Seeing the impact it had on Trey’s life and knowing he could help change the lives of others, Lovell became more involved.
Lovell now organizes numerous fishing derbies each year at Camp Aldergate, Arkansas’ only non profit organization dedicated to serving youth with special needs and senior adults. He also coordinates eight mentored turkey and deer hunts across the state.
“Gary has truly touched the lives of so many in his community and beyond,” said George Thornton, NWTF CEO. “His efforts empower many individuals to try their hand at new activities like hunting, fishing and much more. He embodies the essence of our Wheelin’ Sportsmen program.”
Lovell also works closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Corps of Engineers, the Spinal Cord Association of Arkansas, Arkansas Forestry Commission and several other organizations that are involved in creating opportunities for hunters with mobility impairments or special needs.
The NWTF Wheelin’ Sportsmen program provides all people with disabilities opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. NWTF chapters host Wheelin’ Sportsmen events across North America to help participants gain a sense of independence by learning to stay active in the outdoors on their own.
About Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
For more information, contact Peter Muller at (803) 637-7698.