By Lars Dalseide | May 19 2014 12:49

Injured servicemen and women from Fort Belvoir Military Hospital invited for a day at the range

Recovering veteran inspects her target with NRA Range Safety Officer Matt Sharpe

Fairfax, Virginia - Earlier this month, a group of recovering veterans from Fort Belvoir Military Hospital were welcomed to a day at the National Rifle Association.

Organized by NRA Range Customer Service Specialist Debbie Crews, the afternoon included a tour of the National Firearms Museum, a behind the scenes lunch, and a trip behind the firing line at the NRA Headquarters Range. A day away from their regular routines of rehab and respite to unwind behind a few of Samuel Colt and John Browning's finest.

"I have been working with returning veterans at local military hospitals for the past two years," said Crews. "Today the Range is honored to welcome a wonderful group of injured servicemen and women from Fort Belvoir Military Hospital by providing a fun day at the NRA."

Said day of fun began with a tour of the National Firearms Museum. Guided by ever affable Senior Curator Doug Wicklund, the veterans received a one-of-a-kind inside look at the 3,000 guns on display.

Veteran from the Fort Belvoir Military Hospital fires an 870 tactical shotgun

"Such a perfect combination," Wicklund mused. "Bringing together a remarkable young group of men and women who served our country with the firearms that did the same."

Following the tour, it was down to the range where the veterans were presented with the choice of fourteen different firearms. And before you ask yes ... they kept going back for more.

"We had everything from an M1 Garand to a 870 tactical shotgun to .22 pistols and .44 Magnum revolvers," said Crews. "Variety is the spice of life, right?"

A few hours, and a few thousand rounds later, there was nothing left but a considerable pile of spent brass and a considerable amount of smiling faces.

"I think they had a great time," Crews smiled. "We had some questions about our hours and competitions so hopefully we'll be seeing a few of today's visitors again real soon."

Two years of work coming together for an afternoon at the range. I can't wait to see what Crews does next.

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