About America’s Freedom Lodge
America’s Freedom Lodge (AFL), located in east central Ohio, is a non-profit 501(c) (3), all volunteer, charitable organization dedicated to serving our Nation’s disabled veterans by getting them into the outdoors. We do this primarily through hunting and fishing events, such as a week-long archery deer hunt, a spring turkey hunt, and a bass fishing event in late spring/early summer. These events are provided at no cost to the vets. All meals, lodging, licenses, and processing fees are funded through donations (both financial and goods and services) as well as our own fund raising efforts. Founded in 2007, we are entering our 12th year of operation and have served over 200 veterans from 25 different states as far away as Alaska. Pictures on our website depict several of our activities during this time frame.
Working for a cause larger than one’s self has rewards beyond calculation. It also has emotional costs.
One of the first veterans we served was terminally ill and we arranged a bass fishing trip for him, with the assistance of Bass Pro Shops in Florida. When he returned, he wrote a letter to thank us, which is posted on our web site. Sadly, this brave Marine passed away about 5 weeks later.
More recently, one the vets we had on the 2010 deer hunt passed away from the ravages of Agent Orange, just 4 months after the hunt. He initially joined the deer hunt with the expectation that he would only be able to participate for a day or two. After a couple of days, he asked us to take him home for more medication and oxygen so he could complete the hunt. He not only went on every hunt, he also harvested a deer. When he went home, he harvested 2 more. At his wake, his wife said our hunt had re-energized him. So while we were deeply saddened to lose two of America’s heroes and two new friends, we were buoyed to know we had added brightness to their final days.
AFL has a vision
While we are proud and distinctly honored to have had the opportunity to serve our vets in this way, our vision for the future is of an organization much larger in scope and further in reach.
- AFL, serving veterans 365 days a year.
- Constructing a large lodge overlooking a lake, with multiple individual and family sized apartments where vets and their families/caregivers can come for week-long stays to relax and unwind.
- A caring staff coordinating many activities, providing therapy sessions, and serving sumptuous meals.
- Most of all, we see the opportunity to continuously honor AFL’s motto “Freedom: God given, vet assured.”
How to help