Beards for Benefits pairs disabled kids and veterans on turkey hunts

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, April 5, 2023

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Hunters are heading into the woods yet again, now in pursuit of a big gobbler with turkey season underway. And as always, when turkey season begins, it is yet again time for Beards for Benefits (B4B). The annual event was originally founded by Klay “Pudoo” Armstrong, and is aimed at supporting two important groups: disabled children, and veterans. Each year, a disabled child is paired with a veteran, and the pair are sent out on guided turkey hunts throughout the Southeast.

Like last year, the festivities were split across two weekends, the banquet, silent auction and raffle being held on March 25, while the actual hunts took place over this past weekend. This year saw 22 kids and 22 veterans participate, an increase over last year. Local landowners partner with B4B, allowing the hunting teams to use their land, and with more participants this year, B4B expanded their partnerships as well. “We picked up some new places,” Armstrong said. “I wanna thank Deer Run Plantation, they opened up and took two teams this year, and Jason McDonald out over there in Alabama, he took eight teams hunting with him.”

There were multiple turkeys bagged over the weekend, with two awaiting scoring to determine the largest bird, as the largest will be taxidermied and donated to the winning hunter.

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This year has been a year of growth for B4B; in addition to new hunters and new hunting spots, this year’s banquet saw close to 500 in attendance, and a significant increase in money raised. Like last year, a $4,000 scholarship was awarded to one of the kids, along with new wheelchairs being purchased for some, and donations made for the vets. There may be even more growth in the organization’s future, as Armstrong confirmed that B4B is looking to open a new chapter in Dothan, Alabama, next year.

“I just want to thank my landowners, and thank my sponsors,” Armstrong said, “and most importantly thank the vets for doing what they do, so we can do what we do. I thank the kids for being strong and happy and helping us all out, and I want to thank my volunteers, because without the volunteers, this would never work.”