The countdown is on for Record Rack’s Bucks for the Brave Veteran Hunt, taking place over Veteran’s Day Weekend. Cowboy Lifestyle Network is a proud sponsor of this event and we are beyond honored to be able to attend this year’s event in partnership with Record Rack and Trinity Oaks.
For those of you who are just hearing about the Bucks for the Brave program, here’s a little backstory. Four years ago, Record Rack recognized the need to give back to those who have put their lives on the line for their community and their country. They wanted to be able to provide these heroes with a once and a lifetime opportunity that they may not have received otherwise. So, the Bucks for the Brave Program was born. You can check out highlights from last year below.
Earlier this year, families had the opportunity to nominate their own heroes to win this all-inclusive, weekend hunting trip at the Thumbtack Ranch in Batesville, Texas. Each year, seven winners from each branch of the military as well as one retired Firefighter and one retired Law Enforcement Officer. This year is no different, we are excited to introduce to you the seven winners of this year’s Bucks for the Brave Hunt.
Ronald Hoyt – Air Force Veteran
Nominated by his son: A very deserving father of 3 that served his country in the USAF for 20 years active duty and another 20 years as a civilian. He grew up in the small town of Rindge, New Hampshire, where my grandfather taught him to hunt. Growing up he had the opportunity to hunt a few does but was never able to get a buck.
After leaving his hometown at the age of 17 to join the Air Force, he lost the opportunity to hunt as he traveled the world to serve his country. After retiring from active duty Air Force he worked full time as a civilian at Robins AFB in Warner Robins, Georgia where he met the love of his life and raised his 3 children.
Today my father is 75 years old and hasn’t hunted in several years. He spends most of his free time doing yard work on his 8 acres in Byron, Georgia and helping to raise some of his 9 grandchildren. To provide a better life for his family he went back to work full time at age 72 at a local elementary school where he works with special needs children. He is currently in his 3rd year in this position and loves going there every day! In all my 33 years I don’t think I can remember a single time when that man did anything special for himself. Everything he does is to serve his family, his friends, his country or his God! I strive every day to be as good of a father to my kids as he was to me and my sisters! He’s the best man I know and well-deserving of being recognized as the true American HERO he is!!
Patrick Russell – Army Veteran: Purple Heart & Bronze Star Recipient
Nominated by a friend: Pat has spent his life protecting our flag, our country, and our freedom. When his Army career came to a screeching halt after having a heart attack at a young age, he was forced to retire from the military. In dealing with his separation from his military, he started feeling the complications of what he dealt with all those years in the Army, as many soldiers do. He decided to give back to his fellow brothers and sisters by starting Resiliency Outreach, a 501(c)3 Veteran Nonprofit Organization (NPO) whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being; supports Military, Veteran and First Responder communities; provides outreach to service members, veterans/wounded warriors, law enforcement officials, and Gold Star Families.
To sum it up this non-profit organization helps soldiers by re-entering society, dealing with everyday struggles and many other complications they face after being home after living a military life. Resiliency Outreach helps by taking veterans on outdoor events to help with their mind and soul. These programs and events pull together others who have walked in similar shoes and know they are not alone. Pat deserves to be selected for Bucks for the Brave because he has given so much of his life and time to help out other veterans that it’s time someone did something for him. Deployed to: Anbar Province Iraq and received Purple Heart; Kunduz, Afghanistan; Lebanon (2x) to advise, assist, and train Lebanese Special Forces units; Iraqi Kurdistan to advise, assist, and accompany Kurdish Peshmerga against ISIS forces in Northern Iraq; Medically retired in October 2018 after severe heart attack – started Resiliency Outreach previous March.
Daniel Phillips – Coast Guard Veteran
Nominated by a friend: I would like to introduce Danny: Danny was born and raised in the small town of Mitchell, IN. He grew up exploring the timber, creeks and field edges; developing his love for outdoor activities. In 1996, Danny graduated high school and enlisted in the USCG. He spent 8 weeks in Cape May, NJ earning his blue cover and silver shield. As a freshly ranked Seaman Recruit, Danny reported for duty at USCG Station Frankfort on the shores and open-waters of Lake Michigan. The “Mother Station” of the lake and in charge of USCG Station Manistee.
Danny completed his first enlistment, 4-years of service, as a Boatswain Mate 3rd Class, and decided to return to the civilian world as a student in pursuit of a law enforcement degree. Unlike many mid-twenties kids who leave the service in pursuit of a degree or other wishful dreams, Danny actually completed his degree and was hired by West Lafayette Police Department. For 8.5 years, Danny served the city as a 1st Class Patrolman, certifying as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE Officer) and was a member of the department’s Fatal Alcoholic Crash team. While ensuring the safety of the West Lafayette citizens, he met his wife Jill. Jill was pursuing her Ph.D. at Purdue University. Jill graduated and took a position with the government in southern, MD. Danny resigned from the department in support of his wife’s career.
Once settling in southern Maryland, Danny and Jill started their family. Danny still had a desire to serve, so, while learning life as a first-time father, now of two wonderful daughters, he returned to school in pursuit of a nursing degree. Danny once again graduated college with a degree, in nursing, and is currently serving his community at the local hospital in the Cardiac Unit and is a preceptor for newly hired nurses.
Danny is the type of man who will do anything for anyone and has proven that with his dedication to the betterment and protection of others. He actively seeks out transplanted service members who are transferred into the area. If he is not able to escort them into the field personally, he is one of the first to provide them with solid, helpful information regarding big game, fishing, and crabbing. Danny continues to serve his fellow veterans and public service defenders in any manner within his power.
Greg Manning – Marine Corps Veteran, Purple Heart Recipient, Retired Law Enforcement
Nominated by a friend: Greg did a tour in Vietnam where he received a Purple Heart. Once he returned home, he became an LEO in Longwood, Florida. After becoming an officer he became the Chief of Police for over 20 years. This man has a huge heart for his family and country.
Brad Trogdon – Navy Veteran
Nominated by parents: As proud parents, we are nominating our son who got out of college in 2008 in the heart of the recession. Unable to find a good job after submitting dozens of resumes, he contacted us to let us know he was joining the Navy as his great-grandfather and grandfather had done. He chose to be a submariner and after completing A school, was assigned to the SSBN741 Maine in Silverdale, Washington. He completed 7 strategic deterrent patrols totaling over 550 days underwater. The commitment to his service was shown in his first deployment when there were two out of 34 who earned their dolphins and he was one of them. Since leaving the service in 2017, he has earned post-graduate degrees (MBA and MSL) while being a husband, father to two boys, caring son and working full-time.
Nominated by wife: Not only is he an incredible husband, father, son, and friend, he was also a proud serviceman. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps he enlisted in the US Navy, but as a missile technician for a nuclear submarine in 2009. After his boot camp and sea school, we got a taste of how much we would sacrifice during his time of service. Being on a submarine is not for the faint of heart. He deployed 7 times, one of which was 6 days after our first son was born. We know many servicemen miss the birth of their children and we considered ourselves extremely lucky for him to be able to witness our miracle and have 6 days together. He never complained even though the hours and shift work were long days. In his free time he enjoyed hunting out there, but with no luck for a large buck. After his service we moved back to Columbia, SC, he started a new career, we welcomed our second son, and he completed his master’s program. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever met and I am extremely proud of him.
Nominated by 2018 Bucks for the Brave Winner: Brad is what you picture when you think of a man that puts family first. He served in the Navy as a Missile technician on the USS Maine from 2009-2015. Where he received numerous awards. But after he and his wife Jennifer starting having children it was time to put them first so they returned home to South Carolina. Brad is such a selfless guy always helping and putting everyone else before himself. He misses the comradery that the Navy offered. I can’t think of a better person than Brad. Someone who could use a little trip to show how thankful we are all for his great service to this country.
Tommy Salmon – Retired Law Enforcement
Nominated by a friend: Tommy is a retired Texas State Trooper (Corporal) and a 4 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Tommy served with the Texas Highway Patrol from 1988-2012. I met Tommy when I was the maintenance man at the Lubbock, Texas Highway Patrol office in 1989 while I attended college at Texas Tech. It was my aspiration to become a Texas State Trooper and Tommy used to let me ride with him to “teach me the ropes” before I was even old enough to be a certified police officer in Texas. When I attended the police academy in 1992, graduated, and started working as a Deputy Sheriff for the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, Tommy continued to let me ride with him in a uniformed capacity and treated me as an equal. Even though we worked for two different agencies, Tommy continued to mentor me and even acted as a field training officer to help me with decision making, crash investigations, DWI investigations, and dealing with people on a variety of traffic stops.
To this day, I am still a police officer for the State of Texas and he is still my friend. I consider him one of the biggest influences in my life, he has helped influence my career, immensely. I’ve been a police officer for nearly 28 years now and appreciate the time I got to spend with Tommy riding in his Highway Patrol car and learning how to be a good police officer. Now that he’s a retired Texas Trooper, I think this would be an awesome way for me to say “Thank You” to him for putting up with me when I was just a youngster! All too often we don’t take the time to thank those who have helped to mold us in our careers, both military and law enforcement. I was fortunate enough to have met Tommy at the right time in my life and I’m grateful that he had the patience to teach me and to remain my friend. Tommy has served his Country and the citizens of the State of Texas with the utmost integrity, dedication, and professionalism and I truly believe he is deserving of this awesome deer hunt.
Danny Foley – Retired Firefighter
Nominated by a friend: Danny Foley is my living hero that I feel would be the most deserving firefighter nomination for this year’s hunt.
Danny, being forced from his position as an FDNY, Rescue3 firefighter, after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Danny filled the position on Rescue 3 from his brother, Tommy Foley, who was killed during Rescue attempts on 9/11, in the Twin Towers. Danny spent 21 consecutive days in search of his brother until his remains were found.
As we are well aware of now, there have been more than 200 deaths in relation to the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Danny is an avid successful outdoorsman, loving husband, father of five, and has proved himself to be selfless in his daily duties, multiple rescues successfully carried out, two most recent prior to his being diagnosed. I have been blessed to have spent multiple days at hunt camp and days in the woods alongside Danny, witnessing his drive, perseverance, and passion. Danny and his family were one of the invitees to the recent signing of the health bill passed by President Trump in Washington DC.
CLN on Scene
Wow! What an amazing group of heroes. I speak for the whole team when I say that we are truly honored to be in the presence of this many American heroes in one place. I can’t wait to join these men on a trip of a lifetime, hear their personal stories, and watch this amazing group of people come together to celebrate them.
If you’re going to be in San Antonio and want to do your part in giving these heroes a proper send-off, head to Cavender’s! Please, please follow us on social media if you aren’t already, to catch the Behind the Scenes of this trip in action. You won’t want to miss it!
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