Blind Veteran makes history, inspires others

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) Two years ago, Veteran Darrel Chapman became the first legally blind person in Colorado to apply for and receive a special accommodation permit to hunt deer in the state. In October of the same year, he harvested a buck on the Lowery Ranch, just north of Rifle, during a special hunt organized for disabled Veterans by the Grand Junction VA Medical Center's Recreation Therapy Staff. In appreciation for showing him that he didn't have to give up activities he enjoyed until he lost his eye sight, Chapman donated the mount to the recreation therapy program Wednesday to help inspire other disabled Veterans.

"It's quite an opportunity. Before I lost my eyesight, I used to hunt; and I enjoyed it very much; so it was a great opportunity for me; and I got a thrill out of it really," said Chapman.

A special optic adaptive device was attached to his rifle, which allowed a guide to talk Chapman through the aiming and finding the appropriate time to fire the rifle.

The hunts are held on private land, using tags donated by the land donors. Taxidermist Tim Elder donated his services to create the trophy.

Grand Junction's VA Medical Center is the only one in the nation with a big game hunting program. In addition, it also has programs for fly fishing, skiing, geocaching, and is developing a kayaking program.

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