On Monday, March 27, shooting enthusiasts gathered for an afternoon clay shoot in support of the fight against ALS. More than 100 shooters participated in the 2nd Annual Sporting Clay Shoot, followed by cocktails, dinner, and awards at the Greater Houston Gun Club.
The first Sporting Clay Shoot was held in 2016. ALS Texas board member and Phi Delta Theta alumnus WL Gray recommended a clay shoot when the Texas Chapter was looking to create a new fundraising event. WL has been a member of the Greater Houston Gun Club since 2005, and having shot in a number of charity events before, he began considering a clay shoot event for ALS.
Having never been personally affected by ALS, he had known about it through his involvement with the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, a national partner of the ALS Association. Around the time of the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, a friend who lived in Santa Fe was diagnosed with ALS and passed away a year later. This renewed his passion for fighting ALS.
This year’s tournament raised $78,000 for the fight against ALS, a 22 percent increase over last year. Shooting enthusiasts participated in an afternoon shoot followed by cocktails, dinner, and an awards reception at the Greater Houston Gun Club where Don Saathoff shared his story about living with ALS.
In January 2015, Don and his wife Martha retired. Don had served as a Houston Police Department officer and a Marine for most of his life. Just two months after retirement, Don was diagnosed with ALS. Since then, he and his wife have been advocates for ALS awareness.
“We’ve been very active with the ALS Association,” Don said in his speech. “We’ve been to [the ALS Advocacy Conference in] Washington, D.C., we attend walks, we attend motorcycle rides. Everything we do outside of doctor’s appointments and going on trips is for ALS [awareness].”
Don designed two custom knives to be auctioned off at the Clay Shoot. On the knife, he wrote his motto “Be Strong” and signed his name. Inside the box read his quote: “Achievement is not easy. You’re dealt a certain set of cards, and that’s what you have to play. Don’t complain. Instead, accept the challenge, and get it done. Make something of your life.” The two knives were sold for $1,000 each.
Don’s parting words were “I don’t know how long I have, but I just want y’all to live every day and to cherish every day you have, because you don’t know if you’ll ever get a disease like this. So live every day to the fullest. That’s what I’ve been trying to do every day since I got this disease.”
A special thanks to our sponsors Silver Eagle Distributors/Bud Light, Adaptive Driving Access, and Travis Medical, as well as to the Phi Delta Theta Houston Alumni Club for their support of this event.
Interested in participating in the 2018 shoot? Check out www.ShootOutALS.com for updates on next year’s event.
Interested in sponsoring the event? Contact Jessica Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org.