HAVA: Making A Big Impact In Veterans’ Lives


HAVA gives veterans the chance of a lifetime with expansive, memorable hunts. This past November,
a team endured five days in subzero temperatures in Wyoming to fulfill their cow elk tags.

Since its founding by shooting sports industry executives in 2007, Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) has been laser-focused in its mission to serve disabled veterans and injured active-duty military through participation in outdoor events. Fifteen years later, HAVA’s mission is unchanged — but it has adapted to changing times, giving the organization even more creative avenues to serve our nation’s heroes.

Resuming Full Operations

In 2022, HAVA resumed its pre-pandemic agenda, full of HAVA Family Days, small-to-medium-sized range training events and multiple hunts throughout the country. It also added some first-time events offering unique experiences for participants.

“While we’re ramping back up to full capacity with things like HAVA Family Days and HAVA range training events, we’ve also broadened our reach in the past year,” shared Tom Taylor, HAVA chairman. “We’ve added ATV and river adventure trips, as well as being involved in a corporate training event through a partnership with the Light Foundation.”

Taylor shared HAVA is planning another first: A long-distance motorcycle ride later this year.

“It will feature six veterans and six HAVA trainers starting in North Carolina, with a tour of military base locations in the Southeast. The ride will have firearms training as part of the experience,” he explained.

In a shift from HAVA range training events and hunts, these diverse events integrate firearms into the experience.

“All HAVA events still feature guns,” Taylor confirmed. “But what we’re finding is guns, combined with other adventures, is very therapeutic.”

With its range training events, hunts and Family Days, HAVA isn’t straying from its roots.

“We’re maintaining a focus on our core mission: Getting disabled veterans to the range or out in the field hunting,” Taylor said.

The “Why” Behind The Mission

In September, HAVA hosted a range event in the Pacific Northwest at the Tacoma Sportsmen’s Club in Puyallup, Wash. The three-day event featured nearly 75 veterans who had the opportunity to try trap shooting, long-range rifle and tactical shotgun shooting — along with primitive archery and slingshot instruction. The event was a success and plans are underway to stage it again this year.

One participant’s experience personifies the “why” behind the HAVA mission. When asked to share about the impact of this event, the attendee said: “I didn’t know how much I needed this experience. The HAVA staff enabled me to reconnect and do what I truly enjoy, shooting awesome firearms and connecting with my fellow veterans. I can’t wait until next year!”

Another “why” moment came after HAVA’s flagship event, HAVA National Family Day, held at the San Antonio Police Training Academy. The November event welcomed 110 participants who enjoyed a day on the range that featured Cowboy Action Shooting, archery, axe throwing and an onsite shooting demonstration from eight-time world champion Lena Miculek.

At the conclusion of the event, one of the attendees stated: “I suffer from severe PTSD, and can’t drive a car so I had to ride my bike to the event. When I checked in, I was depressed, anxious and unhappy. Attending the HAVA event was better therapy for me than anything I’ve tried. This event puts a big smile on my face, and that’s very rare for me.”

These comments represent a very small sample size of the dozens HAVA’s team hears each year from attendees and their families.

The 2022 SIG SAUER Charity Golf Tournament raised over $125,000 for HAVA. The annual event started
in 2016, which raised $7,000 — it has increased each year since.

A HAVA trainer assists on the firing line during a HAVA range event. One-on-one instruction is another
hallmark of HAVA’s unique offerings.

“We’re maintaining a focus on our core mission: Getting disabled veterans to the range or out in the field hunting.”

Tom Taylor, HAVA Chairman

Answering The Call

Looking ahead to HAVA’s 16th year of operation, Taylor shared the current market conditions have created a challenge for HAVA and its team of volunteers. While support from the firearms industry remains strong — nearly all of HAVA’s original sustaining sponsors are still involved with the organization, plus more — it has waned from pre-pandemic levels. 

To limit the impact of reduced financial support, HAVA has forged creative partnerships. These have enabled HAVA to maintain a robust schedule of range training events and hunts throughout the year.

“As we get further from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, large donations from companies have declined,” Taylor informed. “But there are unique models in place that provide significant financial support, such as the NSSF/HAVA Golf Classic [held during SHOT Show week], SIG SAUER Charity Golf Tournament and the Light Foundation’s Corporate Training Day, where HAVA is a significant benefactor.”

These events, coupled with sustaining sponsor support, wholly fund HAVA’s operating budget.

“It’s challenging, but we’ve been able to maintain our operations and continue to serve disabled veterans,” Taylor said. “We always welcome new companies to step up and support those veterans who have been impacted, both mentally and physically, in their service to our country.”

“Attending the HAVA event was better therapy for me than anything I’ve tried.”


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, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, RSR Group, Ruger, Surefire, Taurus, Vista Outdoor/Federal, XS Sights, Yamaha Outdoors and other contributing companies.

To learn more about HAVA, visit honoredveterans.org.

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