Great People Helping Physically Challenged Sportsmen

chairbound sportsman
Participants in the January 6 pheasant hunt, Kenneth Vaughn kneeling on the far left. Bryan Hatch in a wheelchair and his daughter are next Kenneth. Photo: Ed Helmick

Serve Daily has recently shared with you stories of handicapped people doing amazing things that have been on their wish list for a long time. For example, Frank Snyder, an avid hunter who lost both arms shot a buffalo in December. Then there was the young man paralyzed in a high school football game that went on a hunt and shot a ram sheep. These hunting events were organized by the Chairbound Sportsman Organization and in 2017 they held 72 events involving 164 members with 481 volunteers. Now it is time to share with you the background story and the man leading that amazing organization.

Kenneth Vaughn, living in the northwest enjoyed hunting and fishing with his family. His grandson, who he adopted, shot his first mule deer at age 12. At 14 he was paralyzed in a 4-wheeler accident. Kenneth retired as an engineer at the Boeing Company and later retired from the FAA as manufacturing inspector, moved to Springville 14 years ago. Kenneth began looking for ways to take his wheelchair-bound grandson hunting. He discovered the Chairbound Hunters of Wyoming and did several hunts with them. In 2010 Kenneth was granted permission to establish the Utah Chapter of Chairbound hunters. During the next four years, many hunts for wheelchair-bound paraplegics and quadriplegics were conducted for deer, elk, pheasant, turkey and pig.

In 2014 the Utah Chapter of Chairbound Hunters of Wyoming was closed. A new non-profit organization was established named Chairbound Sportsman Organization. The mission is to help wheelchair-bound and disabled people whether their physical issues are military service related or civilian medical issues. However, you do not have to be wheelchair-bound; you just have to have physical limitation. The motto of the Chairbound Sportsman is “Making the Outdoors Possible.”

chairbound sportsman
Porter Hancock in the Trackchair, standing left to right : Mark Miller USAF medically retired, David Shepard ranch owner, Kenneth Vaughn founder and board member, Warren Vaughn President of Chairbound Sportsman, Porter Larsen volunteer.
Photo: Ed Helmick

Kenneth Vaughn is the founder and driving force behind all of the activities that are constantly being scheduled. At age 78 he is a bundle of focused energy talking about the limited access on forest service trails, a pontoon boat with wheelchair access, and how to improve handicap accessibility for Utah’s many bodies of fishing water. He is also busy planning an upcoming lunch to recognize appreciation for a grant from Cabela’s and the hard work of Fred Barber to increase handicapped access at the Long Neckers Duck Club in Fayette, Utah. On a recent pheasant hunt that involved about 20 members and volunteers, Bryan Hatch, who has been in a wheelchair for twenty years commented that he has never seen anyone more committed to helping the handicapped sportsman than Kenneth Vaughn. Kenneth is quick to credit the organization’s success in serving more members each year to the many wonderful volunteers.

Membership in the Chairbound Sportsman is free to anyone with a physical challenge. Members and volunteers help organize and support activities, plan activities and help with fundraising. This adds another level of satisfaction. The annual fundraising banquet is scheduled for Saturday evening April 7 at the Provo Marriot. Visit their website and the Chairbound Sportsman Facebook page.

The Chairbound Sportsman are looking for members, volunteers, company sponsors and donations.