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Smith: Group helps disabled, disadvantaged enjoy outdoors activities

By Chris Smith
March 27, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Enjoying the East Texas outdoors is extremely popular for the majority of families.

Hunting, fishing, hiking, biking or boating. We are blessed to live in an area so rich in diversity of different ways to spend our recreational time.

Family trips to different destinations are lifelong and special memories for many East Texans. Actually it seems more of a "right" for East Texas and outdoors activities, but a closer look reveals some individuals not able to enjoy what we often take for granted.

A Longview based organization has been in operation since 2008 and helping people who may not otherwise enjoy outdoors activities. COA-NETO or "Challenged Outdoorsman of America-North East Texas Outdoors" is all about helping.

This group hosts free events for those with disabilities and disadvantaged youth. All the time, hunts, and supervision are donated by ordinary people and businesses. The group's mission is to encourage the development of honesty, good fellowship, self-discipline, teamwork and self-assurance to all participants.

Each year the group sponsors an adult whitetail deer hunt. The group takes care of all phases of the hunt. All the participant has to do is get to the hunt area.

Access to and from blinds (which are all wheelchair accessible), meals and drinks are included and a guide will be provided if needed. COA members will even skin and quarter any deer harvested during the hunt. The adult hunt is cool, but the youth events are truly awesome. COA-NETO hosts a youth fishing derby as well as a youth hunting trip. Kids receive all sorts of gear at these events and the volunteers are there, helping all the way.

Considering some of the anglers and hunters are only able to enjoy the outdoors because of this organization is admirable to put it lightly.

Saturday, April 13, he COA-NETO Youth event will be held in Longview at a lake loaded with fish. Kids who would never ordinarily get to fish will get to experience the great East Texas outdoors.

The fact cannot be stressed enough - these folks volunteer their time and resources for the kids.

President Darren Turner can be reached at either (903) 746-3044 or at

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