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A Missouri refuge set aside for disabled veterans

- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A 125-acre tract of land in southeast Missouri is set aside as a haven in the wilderness for a very specific group - disabled veterans.

The Dexter Daily Statesman (http://bit.ly/1dK9WrE ) reports that since Tom Love and Alan Hedrick turned over the land near Bloomfield in Stoddard County to an American Legion post nearly two years ago, nearly 100 veterans have utilized the opportunity.

The property is called Gobbler Ridge Farms. It includes a rustic cabin that has been retrofitted with wider doorways, assist rails, wheelchair ramps and other improvements. The land also includes an elevated, heated blind for disabled vets to hunt or photograph wildlife. A picnic area is in the works.

Love said some vets come to view wildlife. Others hold meetings there or take tours in sport utility vehicles.

Deer, turkey and other wildlife are plentiful at Gobbler Ridge Farms.

"The blind is perhaps the biggest draw to the facility," Love said. "It provides our veterans with an opportunity to put aside any problems they might have and enjoy the solitude of the rural setting, and with nearly all the comforts of home while observing wildlife at its finest."

Among the recent visitors was the head of the American Legion - national commander Dan Dellinger. He visited Gobbler Ridge in the fall to thank those involved in the project.

American Legion members and other volunteers continue to make improvements. A wheelchair-accessible fishing dock should be completed in the next month. Walking trails are also nearing completion.

The new picnic area will sit near the observation blind. Land has been cleared but a table and fire pit have yet to be installed.

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Information from: Dexter Daily Statesman, http://www.dailystatesman.com

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