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"Nathans hunt"

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

I want to tell you a story about a promise, one that was made four years ago and one I always intended to keep. I also want to tell you about the beautiful community that helped me keep that promise to a 14-year-old boy named Nathan.

This is my quest, Inc. was a project I started five years ago with a simple hashtag. As I traveled, studying wildlife conservation in different areas, I encountered terrific people who inspired me in many ways.

In those travels, I met an extraordinary little guy Nathan Buchinski; at the time, Nathan was about ten years old. I asked Nathan the other day if he remembered where we met, and he said yes, "at the outdoors show at the Mohegan Sun". He was sitting at a booth and I was filming around the show so I stopped to say hi to Nathan. There was something about this little guy sitting there in his wheelchair at a hunting booth that made me want to know more about why, and that was it; we started talking about hunting and fishing, that is how I met Nathan.

Over the last couple of years, I have driven to visit Nathan, and he has traveled to my shop; this is a long trip for Nathan, but he made it anyway. While at my shop, a good friend and board member of This Is My Quest, Gary Wilson, also had an opportunity to meet Nathan. Nathan was in double leg casts at the time, he briefly told Gary how much he liked hunting and fishing; for the next three years, Gary would tell me, "we need to get Nathan a hunt” and we both knew we would. Nathan has this fantastic smile; his eyes light up when he is happy, and you cannot help but want to sit with him longer to get to know him better. Nathan uses a wheelchair due to his cerebral palsy, but nothing stops him from doing what he wants to do, and both Gary and I knew that there should be nothing in his way.

Let me get to the good part; here we are nearly four years later; I finally fulfilled my promise with the help of 4 of the best board members and a fantastic community; Nathans hunt was a success.

This Is My Quest serves multiple areas of introduction to the outdoors. This project was what we call an ease of access to the outdoors project. No one should have an obstacle so big that they cannot enjoy the most therapeutic and natural place to be.

It was an easy task asking the community to join in. This quest began when Gary approached Stony Fork Hunts, who were so kind to donate a hog hunt to Nathan, we then reached out to some local restaurants, and it was a quick absolutely from Jerry at Timeless Destination. Then, on to lunch for everyone, our local Fox's Pizza owned by Tammy and Greg Watson, and for anyone that knows them, it was also a quick "YES" Knowing that this project would take time with Nathan, we needed a place for his family to stay. Josh Kreider from the Canyon Motel in Wellsboro was generous with the perfect room to accommodate Nathan and his wheelchair. Finally, breakfast the morning of the hunt, for those unfamiliar with This Is My Quest, we have a fantastic archery program in which 62 youth shoot at our indoor range. Some moms and board members showed up with youth archery shooters and made and served a delicious breakfast at our shop waffles, local farm fresh eggs, local syrup and delicious yogurt donated by The Painterland Sisters.

Finally, I cannot forget to tell you about the special people in the community who took time out of their busy days to attend Nathan's dinner the night before. State Representative Clint Owlett spent some time giggling with Nathan as he gave him a signed Pennsylvania hat. Tioga County Commissioner Mark Hamilton also attended to share a good luck handshake and smile while chatting and dining with us. Charlene Moore, Jess Sandstrom, Matt Stevens, and Gary Wilson are the board members who make all of this possible; without them, there is no, This Is My Quest. Twenty-five people from Scott and Lynn and their family from Stony Fork Hunts to spouses and families of the board. They all showed up to say good luck to Nathan; he felt like the entire town knew who he was when he left dinner Friday night.

Getting Nathan to shoot a rifle was an undertaking, but again, part of our team consisted of a couple of local guys that worked together to fund and build the perfect platform attachment for Nathan. Blake Ingerick from Gray Deer LLC and Matt Wilcox from W&M Concrete. Little did I know that when I took Nathan out Friday before dinner to do the final fitting on his chair and firearms practice, he would make a connection and another new friend. Watching Nathan and Blake work together was truly inspiring; Blake being a father of two little boys and coaching our local football teams, is no stranger to patience and kindness. Nathan needed that and formed an incredible bond with Blake. It was then that I knew I could help guide Nathan, but I was no longer the one by his side for this big adventure; it would be his new buddy, Blake.

The morning of the hunt, we were all there for one reason: to make Nathan's wish for a harvest come true. An entire team of amazing people recognized that with the right help, no one should ever have to say I can't. I wish I could take you into my memories from the second Nathans's finger left the trigger; all of the emotions of worry, fear, joy, and pride we all felt it. As Nathan screamed and carried on, I could feel the tears filling my eyes, and it wasn't just a couple of tears but an overwhelming urge to cry. As I looked at the others, it wasn't just me; all around, the entire team felt it, and as we all gathered around Nathan and headed to his harvest, we knew this young man and his experience had changed our lives forever. It is pretty amazing that feeling, and what is even more amazing is that Nathan is so grateful for us and cannot even comprehend how we are the lucky ones.

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That looks like a hunt of a life time. You are one of the very special ladies in the great out doors. Keep doing what you are doing. You are a lady of every guys dreams. Some day I would love to meet you just to shake your hand and give you a awesome hug.


Kevin Salerno
Kevin Salerno
Jun 30, 2022

I have to say I know Nathan and his family esp his dad we worked together for years. They are one of the most loving and caring family you will ever meet. For you and your team to provide this for Nathan is a God Blessing, it shows us all what a wonderful world we live in when people reach out and help each other. God bless you all for what you have done and do.

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