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Virginia Hound Heritage group committed to helping meet dual community needs - Independent-Messenger: News

Virginia Hound Heritage group committed to helping meet dual community needs

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Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2018 5:07 pm

“I just left Waycross, Ga. where it’s manufactured,” said William Gillette, President of Virginia Hound Heritage. Gillette was referring to the 5’ X 10’ cooler rolling cooler that he and Tom Babb were hauling home to set up for the organization to donate to Hunters for the Hungry on Sept. 15. The date was not chosen at random; that’s also the day of the big Boykins Volunteer Fire Department Truck-Giveaway fundraiser VHH members are helping to boost by selling tickets.

When asked why work so hard on two major fund-raisers at once, Gillette responded, “Well, our area in Southside Virginia is still very much active in the sport of hound hunting, and we want to show that rather than being a detriment to the area we want to be a positive participant in more ways than hunting. We’re a community service organization – non-profit – to support non-profit community services. We do this to help as much as we can with the efforts of our volunteer workers that often don’t get the funding they need - so we wanted to help them along. And we do it to generate grassroots support for hound hunting.”

Gillette explained that the first two years their efforts primarily went toward helping fire departments and Sheriff’s offices in Sussex and Southampton counties; VHH provided bullet proof vests to their canine units.

“This year,” he said, “we are reaching out to the Virginia Hunters for the Hungry. They collect venison during hunting season and have it processed and distributed to local food banks and food kitchens through Virginia. Last year I think their numbers were down a little bit, and when I contacted them, they said what they needed was a cooler. So we are going to be donating a cooler to that organization this year to help them facilitate the handling of the deer that are harvested. There’s a program in DMAP – Deer Management Assistance program – through Game and Inland fisheries. Where there’s crop damage by deer, that allows you to harvest them to help manage the herd and reduce the need for kill permits during the summer. To facilitate that, we’re donating a cooler to help them transport deer to and from collection sites to meat processors to process and freeze and go to food kitchens in communities all over VA.”

Lest the term “cooler” create confusion, this is not a “let’s take some sandwiches to the beach in it” contraption. The group has purchased a 5’x 8 ‘ dual axle refrigeration unit – valued at about $15,000 once the final modifications are made - that can run off of 110 current and will maintain a temperature of between 35 and 38 degrees. And they generated revenue to purchase it through what Gillette described as “supporters of our effort that were more than glad to donate. It fills a big need Hunters for the Hungry had.

We drove down to where they’re made to pull it home and we’re going to put racks inside to put the deer carcasses on. That way, they can safely store more meat to feed more hungry people.”

As for the presentation, Gillette explained that will occur at the other event they’re assisting with for the Boykins Volunteer Fire department, in order to emphasize the need for participation in Hunters for the Hungry.”

“We’re helping them sell tickets for their Truck Giveaway on September 15,” he said. “You buy a ticket for $100, and that gives you two dinners, music, and a lot of fun from two until eight p.m., plus the chance to win a lot of prizes. And the Grand prize is a chance to win a brand new pick-up truck OR $25,000 cash – winner’s choice. We’re only selling 1000 tickets, so the odds are good, plus you’re helping the Fire Department. To buy a tickets, folks can just call (757) 653-2351 or (757) 651-8137.”

“We just saw an opportunity as dog hunters to help fill community needs,” Gillette concluded. “Sometimes people may not understand the sport of dog hunting, and we’re trying to be a positive influence in the community by helping out and doing our part.”