Have You Served in the Military?
J.D. enlisted in the Army and was deployed when he was 18 years old. He served two tours, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He spent the time overseas to protect his country, his brothers in the military and to answer the call.
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It was during his second tour that J.D. was seriously wounded. He was leading a small team into a hostile village when a group of Taliban militants detonated an IED directly underneath him. It resulted in the immediate loss of both his legs and right arm. He sacrificed time and blood, even three of his limbs to help keep our nation free.
“I remember an ice-cold, tingling sensation running through my body,” J.D. said. “I realized I was hit. I laid there and thought for sure I was going to die that day. The only thing I could think about was my beautiful wife and my daughter. That was basically what was making me stay alive that day.
“I remember my life flashing before my eyes. Going hunting with my dad. These mountains I was climbing up in Montana as a kid. And I’m here bleeding out on the battle field. There was a lot of things going through my head.”
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J.D. had always loved the outdoors. But upon returning to the United States, he quickly realized that hunting was the best rehab for him. It was the best way for him to not only rehab physically, but mentally as well. He continued his passion for the outdoors even after becoming a triple amputee.
“The one thing that gave me the drive that I have now was would I be able to hunt again? Would I be able to get back up in those mountains?” J.D. said. “Well, I’m happy to say that same year, a couple months after getting out of the hospital, I harvested four elk. From that point on, I new my hunting days weren’t over.”
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He realized that if hunting could do this for him, it could do the same for other veterans. Thus, Mohawk Outdoors was born. Now, J.D. continues to give back by taking veterans on hunts all across North America so they too can experience the outdoors and allow it to help them heal.
“I knew that if I could still do the things that mean the world to me, I could be happy for the rest of my life,” J.D. said. “My dad is the biggest influences in my life — one of my own personal heroes. I remember him kneeling in front of me and me telling him about all of the hunts I’d been on. He said if this made me happy then that’s what I should do the rest of my life.
“I saw how much hunting impacted me. The same things that I went through after I got injured — the same things I was in the dark for, I knew I could bring veterans back into the light. So I decided to start a non-profit organization called Mohawk Outdoors.”
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J.D. was a great soldier. But he’s an even better person. I've been blessed to meet a lot of truly great people due to my career in the outdoor industry. Not just people who are kind on the surface, but those who are good all the way to the core. Genuine people. J.D. Williams is one of those. His unwavering commitment to his family, friends and country is unparalleled. And his passion for the great outdoors is uncharted. Please take the few minutes it takes to watch this film. Then share it. J.D.'s testimony will make you a better person for it.
“Seeing what the outdoors has done for me, I wanted to show other warriors out there that they could do the same thing,” J.D. said. “The outdoors has meant everything to me.”
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I was blessed with the opportunity to hunt with J.D. during the 2017-18 deer season. We had a great time each day of the hunt, shared stories and enjoyed time in the great outdoors. We even had an opportunity at the great buck shown above. Watch the hunt unfold to see how it transpired.
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