“These guys are pretty awesome,” Farias said. “They paid a big price and made a big sacrifice for our freedom.”
Farias said he came up with the idea to host the deer hunt for wounded soldiers after seeing a television show on how one Panhandle town honors the veterans.
“I saw that and thought, ‘This is awesome,’” he said. “I told my wife we could take one or two of these guys out. It will be a little something. We will try to make it as special as possible.”
Farias said he called Richard Rodriguez, with the Beeville VFW, for help in finding wounded soldiers.
Rodriguez, vice commander at Post 9170, said he was thrilled with the idea.
“I had seen commentaries on TV about it,” he said. “I just never thought about having it here.
“When he mentioned it, I was all for it. I wanted to help him, and the VFW wanted to help him as much as we could.”
Rodriguez said that, as a Vietnam veteran, he wants to make sure these soldiers are welcomed home and given whatever help they need.
“We didn’t have a hero’s welcome,” he said. “We just got back home.
“The only people that welcomed us were our parents. We know what we went through, so we try to help these guys.”
Each of the soldiers got one hog but not everyone got a deer.
“One of the guys didn’t get a deer,” Farias said. “The only reason is he had taken some medication because his arm was hurting.
“That was the guy that had the three Purple Hearts.”
Included in the hunt were Nieves Rodriguez, a Beeville native, and two other wounded soldiers, Jeremiah J. Wiley and Robert Mathews, the soldier with three Purple Hearts.
Farias, who offered thanks to the landowner where he has his lease, said he plans on taking another couple of soldiers in January and hopes that Bee County landowners will join him in the program.
“There are a lot of places under wildlife management,” he said. These landowners are often required to shoot more deer than they need so a program like this could help.
Farias said that he got help not only from the VFW, which bought the soldiers a meal at Shorty’s Place that Saturday night, but also from fellow parishioners at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, friends and family.
While it was a small group that coordinated this hunt, Farias said he would like to see it grow.
“I could see the whole town getting behind them,” he said.
Rodriguez said that he hopes this summer to take some of the soldiers fishing.
“Maybe in the summer, if I could get some guys with fishing boats, maybe we could take them fishing,” he said.
Anyone wishing to help with future hunts can call Farias at 542-1465.