One of the things that the NFL and Green Bay Packers put an emphasis on every season is finding ways to give back to military service members, veterans, and their families. The Salute to Service Award presented by USAA is given every year to the member of the NFL community who “honor and support U.S. service members, veterans, and their families” (via NFL.com).
Fans may often see NFL players, coaches, and personnel wearing special armed forces hats, gloves, cleats, or other gear to show their support for the military. However, what NFL players, and alumni, do to help military members, veterans, and their families often goes unseen.
One event that does not get nearly as much attention as it should is the annual Hunt 4 Life open hunt. Hunt 4 Life is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping military veterans and their families. In addition, the organization has camps all over the United States for children of veterans and law enforcement officers whose fathers were killed in the line of duty.
The annual open hunt takes place right here in Wisconsin in mid-October. This year, it was held on October 11 and saw Packers and NFL Hall of Famer LeRoy Butler join the festivities to help raise funds for the organization. With is help, Hunt 4 Life and Life Camps USA was able to raise over $850,000 to benefit military veterans and their families.
What Is the Hunt 4 Life Foundation?
According to the Hunt 4 Life website:
At H4LF we know that at some point every person is searching to figure out their real purpose in life. Why are we here to begin with? Hunt 4 Life Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial support to military families to support and grow healthy marriages. We also help adolescent boys of veteran and law enforcement families who have lost their fathers as a result of their public service. H4LF also provides direct funding to a variety of youth mentoring-focused organizations.
In 2021, Hunt 4 Life started LifeCampsUSA, which was previously targeted at boys whose fathers were killed in action serving in the military or in the line of duty as a member of law enforcement.
I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Neumann, the founding volunteer of Hunt 4 Life. When asked about the history of the foundation and its mission, he said:
“I started the hunt (this was the19th annual event) to help some people who wanted to go into non-profit work. They wanted to go into a ministry, so I did a hunting outing to help raise funds for that.
“One of the gentlemen I helped get into ministry changed his role, so we decided to have the hunt help raise funds for multiple ministries, and many of them focus on youth and military. And now we just added law enforcement in Life Camp USA.”
“The mission is to help people fund their hunt in life. Life Camp started two years ago after seeing the need for youth who have lost their parents.”
And just how big is that need? According to Neumann, 2,000-3,000 children lose their military/law enforcement fathers as casualties of war, violence in the line of duty, or by suicide.
Unfortunately, the need is growing. As a result LifeCampsUSA is trying to expand their reach throughout the country. Neumann stated that they currently have seven locations spread throughout the United States. At first, these camps were directed at boys only. However, Neumann said they held their first camp for girls in Colorado over the summer.
Former Green Bay Packers Have Been Attending the Hunt 4 Life for Years
While LeRoy Butler was the former Packers player that attended the event this year, other alumni that have attended past events include Gilbert Brown, Ahman Green, Jerry Kramer, Ty Montgomery, and Don Majkowski.
These players are brought to the event by Mayfield Sports Marketing. Of Mr. Mayfield’s contributions to the event, Neumann said,
“He has been very generous. We work together each year and he is helpful in bringing in people and bringing in people that are sympathetic to our cause. He has been very generous with his time.”
This year, Mayfield Sports Marketing donated three LeRoy Butler autographed helmets to the auction portion of the event. These helmets sold for a combined $8,200.
LeRoy Butler and the Hunt 4 Life
On Butler’s impact on this year’s event, Neumann said:
“I think he helped, the people there love seeing local sports heroes, so it gets people excited. Him just sharing and being supportive about what we’re doing. He has inspired a lot of youth, and we work to help a lot of young men. He talked about the importance of what we are doing. He was impressed with what we are doing. He helped move the crowd and encouraged them to be supportive of what we are doing.”
And that’s not just lip service from the founding volunteer. Butler himself said of the event:
“I had the opportunity to talk to some of the guys who have done Hunt 4 Life, but actually going to the event and attending it was nothing less than awesome. It was nothing less than overwhelming to see a group raise money for those who have served in the military that quite frankly they might never meet. My mom always said, ‘Help somebody today that you’ve never met, and it will help make the world a better place.’ I got to do the Hunt 4 Life event and my mom would sure be proud of their work.”
While this year’s Hunt 4 Life fundraising event is over, it is never too late to donate or to look into registering for next year’s event. The hunt was sold out this year and is an amazing opportunity to do good for people that truly deserve good things to happen to them.
More information can be found here.