Coleman walked with more confidence in his step after his hunting buddy, Houston, and the rest of the Missouri chapter of Hope Outdoors helped him bag his first turkey.
Because of the many diseases and cancers Coleman has had to fight in his 16 years, his immune system has been rendered so weak it’s almost nonexistent.
“He just wants to be a normal kid, but because he has such a weakened immune system he can’t get out on a football field with 30 kids,” his mother, Connie, said. “But thanks to Hope Outdoors he had at least one weekend of normalcy.”
The local Hope Outdoors chapter heard about Coleman through common friends and approached him to see if he wanted to give turkey hunting a shot. Coleman had always wanted to hunt.
Coleman’s trip started just before the sun rose on a chilling Missouri Saturday morning. He dressed in the thermals, boots and jackets his friends at Hope Outdoors provided and set out into the woods with Houston.
“I was nervous because I really didn’t think I could hit the turkey if I got the chance. I thought it would take me a few shots,” Coleman said. “We were out there a full day, Saturday, and we heard some turkeys, but they never got close to us.”
Coleman left the woods disappointed but anxious for a second day of hunting.
Sunday morning, after only two hours, a turkey called. Coleman and Houston called back. Before long, the turkey appeared.
“I guess it was about 100 yards away,” Coleman recalled. “We got it closer to us — kept calling — and I was very nervous. It got close, and I got it in one shot.”
He didn’t remember the gun kicking but admitted he was probably too excited to notice.
“I felt like I could do anything after I shot that turkey,” he said. “It’s definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I remember I high-fived Houston, and we both ran out across the field to find it.”
By Coleman’s own admission, that weekend filled with firsts was one of the most important days of his young life — one he’ll never forget.
“I got to have a giant experience,” he said. “I think I’m more confident than I was before, knowing I can do something like that.”