At 21, Jordan Allen of Arlington is already a husband, the father of a 3-year-old, and a veteran of a foreign war. Over the weekend, he experienced something new – the peace and quiet of a deer blind in south Clay County, and the generosity of the county’s residents.
Allen, a lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps, was given the opportunity to hunt through Hunting With Soldiers, a nonprofit organization based in Paducah, and the efforts of Scott Catlin of Brown-Catlin Cattle Company in Henrietta.
Allen came home in October after serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan. While in the Middle East, her served as a supply NCO, then on a UN convoy as a commander-driver.
As a convoy driver, Allen completed more than 160 missions “outside the wire” in hostile territory. On Sept. 13, just 15 days before he was scheduled to leave the country, Taliban fighters attacked his convoy. The event was covered by CNN.
“I’ve had a blast. Scott’s a great guy,” said Allen of the hunting trip. “I would really encourage other vets to get involved in this as a way to get their minds clear.”
Catlin, a Marine who served three tours in Vietnam, connected with Allen, having gone through similar experiences. It’s why Catlin got involved in Hunting With Soldiers. It didn’t hurt that Allen, who is now in the reserves and expecting a promotion to corporal, is working at a car dealership. Catlin is a retired car salesman.
Guided on his hunt by Riley Sizemore, a junior at Henrietta High School, Allen killed two hogs, but didn’t see any deer. Catlin said their had been a lot of coyotes in the area. Allen hunted Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday morning. David and Wendy Sizemore, Riley’s parents, had Allen over for breakfast Saturday morning.
Gordon Melton, a native of Paducah and a disabled veteran, founded Hunting With Soldiers. The organization was started with the belief that the outdoors provides mental healing for the men and women returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Allen said he first became aware of the program through Facebook, though the organization also has a website, www.huntingwithsoldiers.com.
The organization is supported through donations, whether it be a hunt, or monetary donations for the purchase of deer corn and feeders. For more information, or to donate, visit the website, or e-mail Melton at firstname.lastname@example.org.