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Joseph Pratt: Dunn feeds vets, gives awards after event

The Portsmouth Daily Times - 11/10/2023

Nov. 10—Shope and Stapleton

For a decade, community organizer Todd Dunn, owner of True Lure, has been organizing events geared towards disabled youth and veterans, with an emphasis on outdoorsy and hunting activities.

Recently, he offered the community another opportunity to hunt, with his Annual Jim Elliott True Lure Pheasant Hunt, which was geared towards his favorite target population.

The volunteers for the hunt had been preparing for the big day, with 200 pheasants purchased for the event, which was held on Dunn's private property. Dunn also worked with Tim Hortons and Ollie's Burgers and BBQ to have food and treats for the disabled veterans and children who attended.

"It's all about giving the kids and disabled vets a chance to hunt, which they may otherwise not be able to do," Dunn explained. "It is always a great day with big smiles, I tell you."

Dunn has been organizing deer hunting, pheasant shootings, and trout derbies for people with disabilities for many years, with growth each year.

Dunn had 150 guests show up, with youth and veterans being about 50/50. He said a total of 160 pheasants were hunted.

"It's addicting to give back to the vets and kids," Dunn said. "For many, there isn't a lot to do, but this gives people an escape to try something they think they may be limited in."

With the hunt over, and 160 birds ready to be cooked, Dunn attended the American Legion Post 23 over the weekend to present the food to participants of the hunt and veterans.

"I don't know how many we fed, because the place was packed all day with veterans coming in and out to eat," Dunn said. "It was a great day of giving back and a lot of people made it possible.

The event is named after retired firefighter Jim Elliott, who is also a veteran of the armed forces.

"He was big in the Portsmouth fire Department and has been giving back his entire life," Dunn said. "We pay tribute to him with this event. We try to make a difference for veterans and honoring him with this event seemed appropriate."

Elliott retired from Portsmouth Fire Department in 2011 as an assistant chief. He was also a member of the Navy between 1959 to 1962.

Elliott was pleased with the event, saying, "It was wonderful to see all of the vets and young people there enjoying themselves. Todd put a lot of work into it for other people and I was honored he mentioned my name. I was very honored by that, especially when there are so many great vets and people in this area."

Elliott was unable to attend the most recent portion of the event, where they fed veterans, but that didn't stop Dunn from recognizing other community members with his platform.

At the event, Dunn presented awards to owner of Ollie's, Kyle Stapleton, and radio journalist and community volunteer, Bill Shope. He also recognized Eddie Ligget for his volunteerism. All three received the Life Changer Award.

"We told Bill Shope he was presenting an award to Kyle and we told Kyle he was presenting an award to Bill; neither knew they were getting an award. We also recognized Eddie. It was great, because Bill works hard to get the news out to the community every day, while also volunteering, Kyle is one of the best employers in the area and goes out of his way to do right by his staff, and Eddie is always ready to help in any way he can."

Dunn is now planning the Trout Derby event in spring and looking forward to many more years of hunts and fishing for disabled veterans and youth.

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at, © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.


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