By Larry F. Hart
Photo: From left, Leann’s best friend Maddison Wise, Leann, Star Valley ranch manager David Tanner and Leann’s dad Mike Simmons.
Leann Simmons touched all of our lives in 2012 when she first went on a Life Hunt with the BADF Heart of Texas Chapter in Brownwood, Texas.
Leann was diagnosed with a primitive neuroectodermal tumour (PNET), known as PNET brain cancer, and had been through many surgeries, chemo treatments and rehab to beat this dreaded disease.
Her hunting experience with the Heart of Texas Chapter began on a sponsored Life Hunt at the Star Valley Ranch located near Blanket, Texas in January 2012.
The Simmons family was also invited to the Buckmasters Classic at Sedgefields Plantation in January 2013 where Leann experienced a wonderful Life Hunt with others who had serious illness and disabilities.
On the final day of the hunt, Leann harvested a nice Alabama buck.
Recently Leann and Mike Simmons suffered another tragedy in their lives. Leann’s mom, Keribeth, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in October 2016 and passed away Nov. 18.
The Heart of Texas Chapter had planned to return to Star Valley Ranch for a mother-daughter Life Hunt for this family, but Keribeth was never well enough to make the trip.
Tim Schoen, Chapter chairman, and National Director Larry Hart attended the Dec. 4 benefit for the Simmons family which was sponsored by Coleman County, Texas area churches.
They asked Mike and Leann if they would like to go back to the Star Valley Ranch for a return hunt. With tears in her eyes Leann said, “We would love to.”
The stage was set for a father-daughter hunt on the ranch and to relive the experience they had in 2012. Leann and her dad, Mike, arrived at the ranch on the cold Texas morning Dec. 10.
With a full moon, the hunting that morning was pretty slow. Deer activity picked up that evening, and Leann made a 170-yard shot on a 6 1/2-year old 8-point buck.
When that buck dropped in its tracks, cheers were heard in the next county. Leann had successfully relived her Star Valley Ranch hunting experience. She got to share this with her dad, her best friend Maddison Wise, and with her mom who was cheering her on from Heaven because the hunt was dedicated in memory of Leann’s mom Keribeth.
Words are inadequate to relate the joys we share with these special kids and their families in God’s gift, our great outdoors. Being a Buckmasters American Deer Foundation volunteer is one of the most rewarding experiences a sportsman or a sportswoman can have.
Starting a local chapter and helping make dreams come true by giving a hand to those in need is very special. If you want to be part of our gift of giving and would like to start a chapter in your community, contact BADF National Director Larry Hart or ShelLee Swain at (800)240-3337.