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PLEASANTON EXPRESS: Vet honored with hunt

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Pleasanton, Texas, November 11, 2015 | comments


Domingo Chapa, WWII Navy Veteran, shows the flag he received last December from Congressman Henry Cuellar. Chapa was chosen to hunt with the nonprofit group Trinty Oaks. SUE BROWN | PLEASANTON EXPRESSDomingo Chapa, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, was among a group of veterans this past weekend who were able to experience a deer hunt, courtesy of the nonprofit group Trinity Oaks. The group embraces outdoor activities – such as hunting and fishing – to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

Chapa visited the Thumb Tack Ranch near Batesville to begin his hunt with five other veterans. Among them were Vietnam, Korean and Iraq vets. Chapa was the only WWII and the oldest vet in the group. The day began at 4 a.m. with a light breakfast in the ranch house. At 5 a.m., volunteers helped them hunt whitetail deer on the 2,000 acre ranch. Chapa, was joined by his 42-yearold grandson Sergio Chapa. Sergio commented to the volunteers that the last time he had hunted with his grandfather, he was only 12 years old. Chapa said that it probably had been 30 years since he last hunted. Chapa’s son, Arthur, nominated his father for the hunt.


An early photo of Seaman 1st Class Domingo Chapa circa 1944. COURTESY PHOTOThe veterans also were able to use a service gun for target shooting. The volunteer told Chapa to aim for a target. When he noticed that the target had not been hit, he asked Chapa where he was aiming. He pointed to another target and when they looked at it, he had hit bullseye on all his shots.

Though Chapa is steady still on his feet – using a cane for balance – there are deer blinds that are accessible to those who may need assistance.

According to their website, Trinity Oaks was founded on the premise that active participation in the outdoors is a powerful, healing, and fundamentally life-changing experience. For decades, they have known of the philosophical shift that outdoor activities cause within those who participate in them and how that profoundly impacts the wellness of our society. Through its mission programs, Trinity Oaks is able to impact thousands of people who otherwise would not be able to experience the outdoors. Through adaptive methods, such as Trinity Oaks’ Action Trackchair (a customized, all-terrain wheelchair on tracks), veterans can move beyond physical limitations to enjoy hunting and fishing with increased mobility and independence. Trinity Oaks understands that not all injuries are physical and often host veterans who are dealing with PTSD and other mental traumas.

Chapa practices on targets during his hunting excursion with Trinity Oaks at the Thumb Tack Ranch. COURTESY PHOTOOn an annual basis, Trinity Oaks is able to offer more than 50 events for people who can benefit from once-in-a-lifetime hunting or fishing experiences. Outdoor programs support Purple Heart and live combat veterans, families suffering through the terminal illness of one of its’ members and underprivileged youth who lack proper mentorship. Often the price to participate in hunting, fishing and outdoor activities is a limiting factor and the non-profit group believes that there should be no cost to participate. They are currently looking to purchase the Thumb Tack Ranch. A handicapped accessible building will be constructed to offer even more veterans the opportunity to hunt.


Chapa shared his Departure and Arrival schedule while on USS Potawatomi (ATF-109).Even though this trip was unsuccessful, another hunt is planned. Texas Trophy Hunters were filming onsite and will return later in November with the hunters to ensure they all get a deer. “I had a wonderful time and am looking forward to the next hunt,” said Chapa. Chapa will be one of the hunters featured on the Discover Channel show.

Chapa served in the Navy in the South Pacific during the war. He left on his ship April 27, 1944 and served for 20 months in areas that were under attack. He received his Honorable Discharge December 29, 1945.

The independent widower lives in an apartment next to his son and daughter-in-law, Mario and Tina Chapa, out in the country east of Pleasanton. He cites that quitting drinking and smoking has helped him have a long and healthy life. He was planning on attending a meeting at the Jourdanton VFW on Tuesday night with his son Arthur taking him, but first – he got in his vehicle and drove to town to check his mail.

“I want to thank everyone who made this possible - especially I want to thank all of our Veterans and the men I was able to serve with on the ship.”

Lt. Paul Silber Award

In addition to providing a hunting experience for veterans, Trinity Oaks also gives the Lt. Paul Silber Award.

The award recognizes the outstanding achievement in the areas of service to our country, philanthropy, and will recognize a community member who leads by example to fulfill the mission of Trinity Oaks. The award honors those who gave so much who find they can return home, living their lives successfully and be contributing members to society. It proves that there is a life after the military.

Recipients of the Lt. Paul Silber Award must meet the following criteria:

1. Purple Heart recipient

2. Community role model

3. Nature enthusiast and conservationist

4. Affirms the Trinity Oaks mission

Nominations are welcome. Contact

Most of their funding – 70 percent - is through private individuals and donations are always accepted.
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