MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Operation Welcome Home (OWH), a nonprofit that helps veterans and their families with employment, held its third annual ‘Morgantown Shootout’ on Saturday at Defense In Depth.
The event, an all-day affair starting at 10 a.m. and ending around 9 p.m., was a fundraiser with funds going to OWH. There were more than 75 teams participating in the shootout according to OWH Program Manager Tyler Lane, who said it was one of the best events they have ever had.
“There are 15 lanes, 15 different firearms,” Lane said. “When you do the live fire you get to go through and do all 15 weapons, you have the option to add a machine gun on the 16th lane. We have the simulation going with a zombie wedding simulation tournament. We have raffle baskets and food from The Mason Jar in one room, we have firearm raffles going on as well.”
The shootout was not only supporting veterans but also had many participating along with nonveterans. Many of the veterans brought their friends and families to enjoy the outing.
Jeremy Karlen, for example, came with his friend who was an Army veteran and they participated as a team firing all 15 different guns downrange.
“I liked shooting the revolver, it was my first time shooting the revolver — and the different 9-millimetres,” Karlen said. “I liked them all, they were all fun.”
Karlen said it was his first time at the shootout and that he plans on coming back next year because it is a lot of fun and for a good cause.
Active Duty Army Soldier Kevin Swiger also participated in the shootout on Saturday. He said he had a blast because he got to go out and fire rounds downrange. He added that it’s always nice to be around people who have similar interests because it always creates a strong sense of comradery.
Swiger said he was appreciative of OWH for having the event and their other efforts to help veterans and their families.
“It feels amazing knowing that they don’t let go of that service or that obligation to the team,” Swiger said. “And that’s one of the biggest things you get for being in service — it’s a whole new family and who new world of people that are going to be there for you no matter what. even though they’re veterans and they’re no longer in active duty service, they’re still doing their part to take take care of soldiers.”
“It’s just an amazing thing, it’s a testament to their character and their devotion to the country and the people that server it.”
The top three teams in the shootout and the virtual simulation will all receive custom trophies that were made by Appalachian Innovations, a local and veteran-owned business in Morgantown. In fact, the company was also at the shootout and had an ax-throwing station, which was operated by Appalachian Axe Co., which they own.
Lane said the top team in the shootout will receive an engraved plaque that will stay at Defense In Depth. She added that she was grateful for the business because they were integral to the event being a success.
“I cannot even begin to express how appreciative we are for Defense in Depth for allowing us to continue having this event for three years in a row,” Lane said. “The effort that their staff put into this is amazing and they’re phenomenal for allowing us to do this.”