WANAQUE, N.J.– Police officers from Wanaque, Ringwood, and Bloomingdale hunted turkeys for three days with combat wounded veterans in Cherry Valley, N.Y.
The three-day hunt started four years ago and takes place on property owned by Wanaque Det. Charlie Sahanas and David Terpestra, Sr., whose son, David, Jr., is a Bloomingdale police sergeant.
Sahanas connected with Ryan Miller, the founder of huntershelpingheroes.org to launch the hunt.
In addition to Sahanas and the Terepestras, John Galinus, and Charles Huber (Wanaque police); Ted Terpestra; Paul Leentjes; Paul Rothlauf (retired Ringwood police officer), and Chuck Sahanas harvested two turkeys, despite poor weather conditions.
This year, the group hosted veteran and Purple Heart recipient Chris Migliaro, who was wounded while deployed in Afghanistan, and retired NYPD officer, Brendan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, a member of the Coast Guard, suffers from long and breathing issues after spending time at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Ski Barn of Wayne and Paragon Jewelers of Pompton Plains each donated money to purchase a hunting license for the veterans. Hunters Helping Heroes donated ammunition and clothing.
Five hundred dollars worth of clothing and accessories was donated by the East Hanover Police Department. The Sharon Tavern (Sharon, N.Y.) fed the guests for free.
"Often times veterans suffer from the after effects of war," Wanaque Capt. Ken Fackina said. "Not only with visible signs of their sacrifice, but also with horrid memories of war and of their time spent in other countries serving this great country.
"Seeing the smiles on the hunter’s faces is the best reward one could ask for," he added.