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02/24/2012

NWTF, outdoor industry celebrities to visit troops overseas


EDGEFIELD, S.C. -- NWTF has partnered with Armed Forces Entertainment and Paralyzed Veterans of America's Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund to participate in the first Outdoor Legends Tour.

NWTF CEO George C. Thornton, NWTF spokespersons Brenda Valentine and Michael Waddell, NWTF Foundation Board member Ryan Klesko and a number of other famous outdoorsmen will tour Europe and Southwest Asia military bases this spring to visit active-duty United States military personnel.

Thornton and Mossy Oak's Ronnie "Cuz" Strickland worked closely with tour creator, retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Lew Deal, to recruit outdoor industry celebrities to participate in the tour.

Deal and retired USMC Maj. Gen. Randy West, an Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund board member, will lead Thornton, Valentine, Waddell, Strickland and fellow celebrity outdoor personalities Jim Zumbo, Jim Shockey, Jerry Martin and Bill Miller on the 10-day tour.

"For those currently serving in a war zone there are few things that mean as much as knowing the folks back home care about you," said Deal. "It's a hand-shake tour. There will be no production crews, no agents or sponsors − just high-profile outdoor people mingling, posing for photos with the troops and thanking them for their service."

The outdoor industry is now included among a prestigious group of musicians, comedians, actors and actresses who have visited American military personnel stationed overseas to thank them for sacrifices they have made during tours of duty.

"When Lt. Col. Deal approached me with this opportunity several months ago, my heart swelled with honor," said Thornton. "That I was asked to go, not as an individual but as a representative of the entire NWTF membership, is at the very least humbling. I can't wait to express NWTF members' support and appreciation for our servicemen and women and offer our prayers for their wellbeing and a safe, speedy return home."

For safety reasons, the exact location of the visits of the Outdoors Legends Tour can't be disclosed until after the tour is complete. Thornton will blog about the trip on a regular basis and updates can be found at www.nwtf.org or www.facebook.com/theNWTF.

Armed Forces Entertainment is the Department of Defense agency responsible for providing the very best in American entertainment to American military personnel stationed overseas. Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund supports PVA's outdoor sports programs, including fishing, hand cycling and triathlon, track and field events and recreational shooting and hunting.

About the NWTF: The NWTF is the leader in upland wildlife habitat conservation in North America. A nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the wild turkey and preserving our hunting heritage, the NWTF and its volunteers work closely with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies and other partners. Through these dynamic partnerships, the NWTF and its members helped restore wild turkey populations throughout North America, investing more than $372 million to conserve 17 million acres of essential wildlife habitat. The NWTF also brings new conservationists and hunters into the fold through outdoor education programs and dedicated NWTF volunteers introduce about 100,000 people to the outdoors through these programs every year.

To become a member of the NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, visit www.nwtf.org or call 800-THE-NWTF. The NWTF is also at www.facebook.com/theNWTF.

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