Sergeant Tim Seckel
Veteran Outdoors had the opportunity to surprise another wounded combat veteran with an amazing adventure and welcomed him to the ever-growing VO family. This week’s guests were Sergeant Tim Seckel and his 11 year old son Grant. Tim was a Sergeant in the US Army. Tim and three other soldiers were on a recon mission when they were hit by a roadside bomb. The blast killed Tim’s Lt., and wounded Tim and the other two soldiers. Tim’s back was broken in two places, and he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Tim was medically retired on November 13th, which just happened to be the same day that he arrived at the ranch…very fitting surprise trip on such a special day! Tim and his son Grant were contacted and told they were going to take part in filming a commercial for Veteran’s Airlift Command (VAC), a non-profit organization which provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. Tim was told they needed a father and a son to go up and fly around for a while and that the footage would be used for a future VAC commercial.
With the help of Tim’s mom, we got Grant out of school for the day and she was able to secretly pack the items we needed for both Tim and Grant for their secret overnight adventure. Tim immediately jumped all over this opportunity…what a perfect trip…his son’s first airplane ride on the day he retires from the military. So when the cameraman met Tim and Grant bright and early at the airport for their plane ride, they thought this was simply part of the commercial that was to be filmed. While the father and son were inside going over the trip with the pilot, the cameraman met up with Tim’s mom and loaded up all of their gear into back of the plane and covered it up with a blanket. Little did Tim and Grant know, there was another plan in store for the two of them. The cameraman filmed as they took off from the airport and headed south…destination, Llano, TX. When the plane began its decent, Tim noticed they were in a different part of Texas and asked what they were doing landing somewhere else. The pilot explained to them that Llano had a beautiful airport and they wanted to get some footage additional footage of it for the commercial. Cody Hirt and Brad Strittmatter of Veteran Outdoors, as well as Doug Brocail (professional baseball player), were parked out on the runway waiting for Tim and Grant and met them when they stepped off the plane and let them in on what was really going on…they were there for Tim to shoot a trophy whitetail at Thunderhill Ranch. We all pulled into the gates of the amazing Thunderhill Ranch where we were met by the Davenports (ranch owners) and the Barrington’s (ranch managers). Tim and Grant were presented with their Game Guard Camo, as well as with a new gun for Tim and Grant’s first gun which was a Rossie with a .243, 22 and 20 gauge barrels. Cases, and ammo were also supplied all courtesy of the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter of SCI.
At this point Thunderhill surprised us all by informing Grant that he could shoot a buck as well, and that Tim had the green light to shoot ANY trophy buck on the ranch… this ranch is known for their MONSTER Whitetails so we were all starting to feel the buck fever already! The first couple of hunts were tough. The weather was unusually warm, and the deer just weren’t moving. Patience and persistence paid off in the end though, when on Sunday, the last scheduled day of the hunt, Tim made a great shot on a 140’s class whitetail with some great character. This was Tim’s first buck. After shooting the deer, Tim was informed that David Griffith at Highland Lakes Taxidermy was going to process his deer as well as mount it for him so that he could remember this trip for a lifetime. Throughout the weekend Grant saw several bucks, but passed on them because they were either too young, it was too dark, or he didn’t have a clear shot. Grant has never hunted before, but he showed the patience and responsibility of someone who has been hunting for 30 years. At this point it was getting close to being time to go home, but Mr. Davenport pulled us aside and asked if we could stay another day so we could give grant one last chance to get his buck. We did stay an extra day, and once again Grant saw several deer, but none that he could get an ethical shot on. We promised Grant though that day that we’d get him out there for another chance as soon as we could! The facilities and hospitality at Thunderhill Ranch were second to none. We had a great time getting to know Tim and Grant, and thanking them for their service. All too often we forget about the service and sacrifice of our warriors families. All of our trips are special, but this one was extra special since we had the opportunity to thank Tim as well as his son, Grant.
Tim had to spend a lot of time away from Grant, and this trip was a chance for them to spend some quality time together, and is hopefully the first of many hunting trips they will take together. We made a promise to Grant and there was nothing that was going to stop us from fulfilling it. So in early February Chad Barrington gave us a call letting us know they had a couple of spots open if we were able to get Grant back down for another chance at fulfilling his dream. With just a day’s notice, everyone dropped what they were doing and headed back down to the Thunderhill Ranch for what we knew was going to be a memorable conclusion to the already amazing Seckel adventure. Grant, Tim, Chad Barrington and Cody Hirt got into the blind early the first evening and it wasn’t too long until the perfect opportunity presented itself. A big beautiful management doe was spotted as it moseyed its way into range. Grant was so excited that we all thought the doe was sure to hear the blind shaking! We gave Grant the green light and in true Seckel fashion, dropped the doe with a perfect shot! We’re all still debating to this day who was more excited out of the four of us!!! This amazing adventure was all captured on video by Veteran Outdoors and will air later this year. Check www.veteranoutdoors.com for channel and times. We’d like to thank everyone who helped with this amazing trip. Thunderhill Ranch, Game Guard Camo, Houston Gulf Coast Chapter of SCI, Love Hirt’s Hero Crosses, Silver Stag, Highland Lakes Taxidermy and Doug Brocail. Without everyone’s help, we could not have honored Tim and Grant.