BALD KNOB, Ark. — Darby's Warrior Support is a nonprofit that invites special-op soldiers from around the country to experience Arkansas duck hunting.
On Friday, the organization hosted 150-200 members of the Special Operations community (soldiers with anywhere from 6 to 19 combat deployments) on hunting and fishing adventures in the state of Arkansas – along with a few out of state events.
There are two locations they operate out of – Bald Knob and Biscoe. Soldiers are fortunate enough to be the guests of some of the finest hunting clubs in the state, experiencing day-hunts and full-weekend hunts.
When veterans arrive (4-6 in each group), Darby's Warrior Support provides everything needed for the weekend. From hats, guns, gloves, ammo, waders, lodging, and groceries, the only expense for guests is the cost of a license to hunt for the weekend.
The only way Darby's Warrior Support operates is from the generosity of the community. With two full-time employees – alongside a staff of cooks, cleaning teams, and a part-time operations manager during the hunting season -- this is a domestic, IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
Before 2014, DWS operated with the same focus under the name Operation Wounded Warrior Support.
The organizations started with a group of soldiers chasing around Wood Ducks in Fort Benning, Georgia, many years ago.
One of the soldiers just so happened to be Shawn Daniel, an Arkansas transplant who knew where to find the best duck hunting along the Mississippi Delta. Shawn grew up hunting ducks and graduated from Catholic High in 1987 and graduated as the First Captain of the Corps of Cadets from WestPoint.
The Army Rangers continued to come to Arkansas annually for the prize-worthy waterfowl hunts and realized no matter how the birds were flying, the time in the duck blind was so much more than the harvest.
This realization is the very beginning of Darby's Warrior Support. Spending time together duck hunting and also fishing was a chance for these soldiers to look into a true friend's eyes and see how they were holding up under the immense pressures of multiple deployments with ever-increasing responsibilities and casualty numbers climbing.
If you would like to get involved or find out ways to donate your time, money, or any other in-kind donations, you can reach Shawn Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.