McFarland and Belfield

Kandi McFarland (left) drops off one of the donation boxes to support the Camp Valor Outdoors Spring Classic Fishing Tournament at the Park Hills River Mart with employee Michaela Belfield.

Jacob Scott, Daily Journal

Between now and spring, residents will have the chance to donate at area businesses for a cause benefiting wounded or ill veterans.

The annual Camp Valor Outdoors Spring Classic Fishing Tournament at S bar F Scout Ranch is slated for next April, but local sponsors are asking for the community’s help to make the veterans’ experience as good as it can be.

The fishing tournament brings together wounded or ill veterans for three days of fishing and skeet shooting. Local sponsors like the Farmington and Leadington VFW posts and the Farmington American Legion work together to cover the expenses of the traveling veterans.

Leadington Auxiliary Veteran and Family Support Chairman Kandi McFarland said she has placed donation boxes at several gas stations and restaurants in the area for people to donate.

“These donations help defray the cost of lodging, fishing equipment, transportation, ammunition and trophies for 10 of our wounded warriors,” McFarland said. “We pay for their hotel rooms, we cook them all their meals and we try to take care of every need they have while they’re here.”

The veterans receive all-new fishing rods and tackle for the tournament. McFarland said the sponsors also try to provide equipment to the tournament guides, who volunteer their vehicles for the event.

McFarland said almost $3,000 was raised last year, with additional donations coming from businesses and organizations. She said the community’s support is appreciated by not only the sponsors but by the wounded or ill veterans who will directly benefit from them.

“These are veterans,” she said. “They’re not just veterans, but these are guys who are wounded in some way who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to go fishing or shooting. It’s a really neat thing for them and it’s an honor for us to be involved.

“If it wasn’t for the community support to help make this happen, we wouldn’t be able to defray the cost and make these trips happen for these warriors. So it really means a lot to the veterans and to us to have community support.”

For more information about supporting the Camp Valor Outdoors Spring Classic Fishing Tournament, contact Frank Ramirez at 573-330-1124, Bill Henson at 573-760-3611, Dave Oder at 573-631-4393 or Kandi McFarland at 573-915-6015.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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