THE IDEA OF THE FOUNDATION, told by Daniel's father:
It started right after the 2012 Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah. We flew back into Salt Lake on February 10th after being in Okinawa, Japan for 10 days. We had traveled to Japan for a memorial service on February 3rd in memory of Daniel at the Marine Corps base where he had been stationed before serving his tour. During the week we heard many stories of their experiences in battle, but at that point I had not realize what those kids were going through. On our way home from the expo, a local friend, W.D. Martin, called my wife, Dana, and told her that there had been a flag on auction at the Expo and that the flag had been donated to our family. A few days later he presented me with the flag and told me that there was also a monetary donation that was raised and donated as well. W.D. asked us what we wanted to do with the money, so we told him we wanted to help our soldiers and their families. That is how the SGT. Daniel D. Gurr Foundation was started. Our mission statement is "Helping Warriors - active, wounded, and the families of the fallen.”
Our 3 main projects every year are: sending care packages to Afghanistan for the troops stationed there, offering special hunts to soldiers who have been injured, and sending yearly donations to the Fisher House in Dover, Delaware.
Daniel had a long list of passions but one of his favorites was hunting and experiencing the outdoors with his friends and family. One of Daniel's biggest dreams was to go on a red stag hunt in New Zealand. That is where the idea to offer these hunts to wounded soldiers began. The foundation cannot change the world but we can change the lives of some. While on the hunts in the fall of 2012 we heard some very inspirational things such as "this is awesome", "this is the best therapy I have ever had", "you've changed my life", "I want to help in the future”, "What can I do for the foundation", but the one that touched the foundation the most was "you saved my life." That is what the foundation is about; helping others through difficult times. The smiles that this foundation brings to others are well worth the time and effort that goes into it!
Without the generous people of the Uintah Basin as well as the support from family and friends we could have never created this Foundation. We have had so much support from the Vernal, Roosevelt, and Duchesne areas. They have offered their time as well as financial support. This is how it has been since losing Daniel. From the time the town came out to honor him when he came home to his final resting place, until now. We did not realize how this tragedy affected the community’s lives as well as ours. These charities and contributions are all in honor of Daniel's memory. The main goal we wanted to accomplish is to have as much support for all of the other soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms, just as Daniel did. We cannot describe how we feel seeing the smiles on the faces of the wounded soldiers we get to take hunting. We have also heard from the soldiers we have sent care package to, and they are so appreciative. All we want is for all of them to be as comfortable as they can be in their current situation. It is hard to sleep at night thinking about the conditions they are in, just so we can feel safe in our own warm beds.
This foundation is so special to us, and to everyone involved. There is hardly a dry eye in the crowd when we get together to plan what we want to do next. The best thing is imagining the smiles we can bring to them. Hunting has always been a huge passion in our family. What better way to help others, then by getting away from the world even it if is only for one week or one day as long as they get to relax and enjoy the scenery as well as hunt. We are extremely dedicated to this cause. You can't even express how it feels other than to experience the smiles, stories, and even simply standing around a campfire in silence is priceless. We want this Foundation to go on for as long as we are able to provide it. But we hope it never ends because there isn't enough time or hunts to honor everyone that is deserving of these hunts.
We support all Veterans no matter if they are 20 or 80 years old. We could never repay them for their sacrifices, but we would love to help them put a smile on their face. Nobody can understand what these men go through, and some of the stories we have heard are heartbreaking. The conditions they have to live with are extremely sad, and we have to remember every one of them volunteered for this. They weren't forced into doing it. They are doing it for all of us and for the love of their country. We have made numerous new friends through our first few years, and we hope they will be lifelong friendships. Our dream is that they will never forget their experiences with us because we know we will never forget them.