Veterans, Active-Duty Service Members Gather For The 3rd Annual Ruck-Up Event


An instructor gets Ruck-Up attendees set for a session on the archery range.

Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services (VETS) and Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) recently hosted the 3rd Annual Ruck-Up event, a gathering of veterans and active-duty service members aimed at fostering camaraderie, skill-building and fellowship.

This transformative two-day event, hosted at the Ruck-Up Veterans Adventure School in Southern Connecticut, offers participants an opportunity to engage in equine therapy, outdoor bush crafting skills, traditional archery, and firearms training, all within a supportive and empowering environment.

“It was an honor to partner with VETS, founded by their Executive Director Thor Torgersen, to host such an impactful event”, said Tom Taylor, HAVA chairman and executive director. “The Ruck-Up is so unique and challenges these veterans and active-duty service members to stretch their limits by participating in several skill-building activities. Our participants love this event drives camaraderie, while also encouraging them to reach outside their comfort zone.”

Ruck-Up is made possible through the generous support of partners such as Lighthouse Homestead and Stables, the Niantic Sportsman’s Club, as well as numerous local businesses and volunteers. These partnerships ensure the continued success and impact of the event to address the sense of loss of purpose and community often experienced by veterans transitioning to civilian life.

Through sessions in equine therapy, participants explore personal empathy, emotional management and nonverbal communication while working with horses. Outdoor wilderness skills sessions teach discipline, preparedness and an adventurous mindset during stressful situations. Archery and competitive shooting courses focus on mindfulness, discipline and follow-through ± culminating in competitive skeet shooting and pistol competitions.

Ruck-Up represents a beacon of hope and support for the active duty and veteran military communities, with both VETS and HAVA operating as 501(c)(3) charities reliant on donations to continue their vital work.

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About HAVA
HAVA is a 501(c)3 organization formed by companies in the shooting and outdoor industry with the purpose of raising awareness and further assisting disabled veterans with their healing process through guided hunts, shooting events and other outdoor sports activities. The sustaining sponsor companies are Smith & Wesson, NSSF, SIG SAUER, Academi, Arnold Defense, Crimson Trace, FMG Publications, GLOCK, Hornady, Leapers/UTG, Leupold & Stevens, Mossberg, RSR Group, Ruger, Surefire, Taurus, Vista Outdoor/Federal, XS Sights, and Yamaha Outdoors among numerous contributing companies. To learn more about HAVA, go to: