Kip West supports our troops

Published 7:33 am Saturday, May 21, 2011

by David Peck

As I ride along our highways, I see many bumper stickers that say “Support our Troops.”

In Wakefield, there is a young man named Kip West who is doing great things to help our heroes.

Kip started Kip West Outdoors last year to honor his good friend Sgt. Jayton D. Patterson, who was a Marine killed in the line of duty Jan. 15, 2005. Out of his love and respect for Jayton, and after a few trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Kip wanted to do something for soldiers who came home severely injured so they would know their sacrifice is appreciated.

Not being a wealthy man, but being an outdoorsman, he conjured up an idea to work with these soldiers, bringing them closer to Mother Nature.

Kip is a pro staff shooter for Bowtech and represents other outdoor companies. These sponsors do not pay Kip a salary but provide him with the tools to be successful in the archery field.

Last year, Kip teamed up with Oliver North at Freedom Alliance. In May 2010, Kip West Outdoors and Freedom Alliance hosted 20 severely wounded soldiers at the Airfield Conference Center for the first Salute to our Heroes event.

Upon arrival, a parade was held in Wakefield. When they arrived at the conference center, each received a bow from Bowtech.

For three days, they participated in archery, skeet shooting and fishing competitions. The week concluded with a closing ceremony with country music star Tracy Lawrence performing.

I was fortunate to help Kip do some of the organizing for that week, and I must say, after visiting and watching the closing ceremony, I was moved to tears.

To see the excitement in their eyes and listen to their comments, I knew at that moment what Kip was doing was truly “supporting our troops.”

Kip dedicated the rest of that year to taking these same soldiers on different “dream” hunts across the country. Freedom Alliance provided the transportation and care of the soldiers, while all of Kip’s travel expenses came out of his pocket.

This past April 26 through April 30, Kip started with a new group of 16. Again, we had the event at the Airfield Conference Center with the parade and competitions. Everwilde and Outshyne provided the entertainment. As a bonus, Bassmasters Champion Woo Daves lined up a trip to Richmond International Raceway and an opportunity to meet some of the NASCAR stars. Tidewater Academy provided a school bus.

For the next 12 months, Kip will take many of these heroes on “dream hunts.”

I would like to thank Dallas Banks with Johnson Auto Parts, Van Cleef Trucking Co., Martha Russ, Smithfield Foods, Kevin and Cathy Pittman, Jeff and Missy Lamm, Tyler Peck, Derek Peck, Tara Kea, Mr. and Mrs. Charles West, Loraine Murphy, Tidewater Academy, Pats Sporting Goods and Belmont Peanuts. These companies and folks volunteered either money or time this year.

I would be remiss if I did not give a shout out to Kip and Kat Campbell of Red Arrow TV; these guys are promoting Kip West Outdoors and Freedom Alliance on The Sportsman Channel TV network.

And finally I cannot forget my buddy “Country Joe” Caverlee; he is the fiddle player for Tracy Lawrence’s touring band. After coming out here last year, Joe became so fond of what Kip is doing he asked to return this year. He spent a couple of days with the soldiers and also played with Outshyne on Thursday.

Kip West Outdoors has applied for a 501 3C tax status with the Internal Revenue Service. This will take time to get done, but once accomplished, it will be easier for Kip to go to new sources for donations. In the meantime, it is impossible for Kip to maintain a job and do all that he is doing.

If you want a way to “support our troops,” please go to and donate, or mail a check to Kip West Outdoors, P.O. Box 1003, Wakefield, Va., 23888.

DAVID PECK lives in Courtland and is general manager of Belmont Peanuts of Southampton. He can be reached at