• 77°

Youth receives a ‘Dream’ hunt in Lawrence Co.

THE DAILY LEADER / RHONDA DUNAWAY / The Vidrine family, Cricket (from left), Cole, Keegan and Scott, of Lafayette, La., are honored Saturday at Georgia-Pacific's Monticello Mill pavilion with a special cake at a celebration after Keegan's dream hunt sponsored by the Catch-A-Dream Foundation.

THE DAILY LEADER / RHONDA DUNAWAY / The Vidrine family, Cricket (from left), Cole, Keegan and Scott, of Lafayette, La., are honored Saturday at Georgia-Pacific’s Monticello Mill pavilion with a special cake at a celebration after Keegan’s dream hunt sponsored by the Catch-A-Dream Foundation.

On a very special weekend, a Lafayette, La., youth got to experience the dream hunt of a lifetime in Lawrence County thanks to the Catch-A-Dream Foundation of Mississippi and Georgia-Pacific’s Monticello Mill.

“This is a labor of love for our public relations group here,” said GP Manager Brent Collins, “and they are the movers and the shakers that make the dream come together with the members of the Catch-A-Dream Foundation.”

GP public relations officer Ray Melick hosted a luncheon Saturday to recognize local volunteers and say a fond farewell to the Vidrine family, Scott and Cricket Vidrine and their sons, Keegan and Cole.

Keegan was born with a congenital heart condition and other medical conditions that make it very difficult for him to go hunting, his mother Cricket said.

“He loves the outdoors,” she said. “They did a great job of making [the hunt] entirely accessible to him. That really meant a lot to us and made it more enjoyable for him.

“I’m just overwhelmed that Catch-A-Dream provided this opportunity for him to go hunting, and for one weekend life wasn’t focused on his health problems, he was just focused on being a kid. I can’t say enough about Catch-A-Dream and GP. They’ve definitely made it an unforgettable weekend for Keegan.”

It didn’t take long for Keegan to catch his dream, said Melick. The 14-year-old shot a six-point buck and a doe within hours of arriving at the Georgia-Pacific Monticello

Meanwhile, Keegan (left) receives a junior partner membership from the CEO of Catch-A-Dream Foundation Marty Brunson. The partnership means that one day Keegan will volunteer for a dream hunting trip and help some other kid like him have the experience of a lifetime.

Meanwhile, Keegan (left) receives a junior partner membership from the CEO of Catch-A-Dream Foundation Marty Brunson. The partnership means that one day Keegan will volunteer for a dream hunting trip and help some other kid like him have the experience of a lifetime.

Containerboard Mill on his “Catch-A-Dream” weekend, he said.

The Catch-A-Dream foundation is a national, charitable, non-profit organization that provides once-in-a-lifetime dream hunting and fishing trips to children across the U.S. and Canada who suffer from life-threatening illnesses.

Foundation CEO Marty Brunson was on hand to hand out plaques of appreciation to people like hunt masters Harold Griffith and Ron Wujcik who scouted the hunting area, set up blinds and made other arrangements for guests before the hunt.

He also inducted Keegan’s little brother Cole into a special Barnabus Club.

“This is very special,” Brunson said, “the club is based on a character in the Bible named Barnabus and it recognizes one who is willing to take the backseat – that is willing to do the work or to be the support and doesn’t look for credit or recognition.”

Brunson said that it is through these adventures, and exposure to outdoors-minded people who care, that the program instills in these children a message of encouragement at a time when they need to know that hope does, indeed, exist.

Brunson recited the organization’s spiritual foundation, Isaiah 40:30-31, as he presented Keegan with the gift of a new leather-bound, camouflaged Bible.

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Brunson said this is the spiritual mantra behind his organization’s purpose, and said it means to him God’s promise of a renewed spiritual body. He said his dream hunts are to create moments that bring these kids outside of the reality of their limitations and into the grace of God.

For more information on Catch-A-Dream visit www.catchadream.org.