Featured on UpNorthLive with Marc Schollett on Friday, October 6, 2017
WPBN/WGTU (Kalkaska County) — Getting around in the woods is never that easy, but it's extra hard for folks dealing with issues like traumatic brain injuries, limb amputations, dementia, or PTSD. A Northern Michigan man has launched a new guiding business called Restorative Outdoor Services that will help almost anyone get back to what they truly love doing.
David Ebersole is like an awful of us. The woods are his happy place. "Absolutely 100%, hunting and fishing being in the woods, that's where I am free, and that's where I am generally at peace" explains David. But after 4 years in the Army including tours of duty in Baghdad where he sustained countless serious injuries, his ability to be out hunting was put at risk. David says "I had a back injury, both elbows, both shoulders, PTSD, TBI."
David is like many others dealing with both emotional and physical limitations that could have meant the end of being able to hunt and fish, doing something he loved.
Eric Niemi can understand David’s situation. The certified outdoor guide and certified brain injury specialist says "when it's your passion, when you have a passion like that and you feel that strongly about it and then in an instant you can't do it anymore, it's amazing how it can effect somebody's mood."
Eric Niemi is looking to get folks like David back to doing what they love so he launched Restorative Outdoor services. Eric says "I just love being part of the experience, you know when someone brings in a big steelhead, or shoots their first turkey after having a stroke. When their life changes, and they have these challenges now, you can still go out and do the things you love, you just have to adapt the way you do it."
And Eric is finding ways to help people adapt. Whether it's guiding people in his wheelchair friendly boat or deer blind, or finding ways to help amputees land a fish like an electric reel, he is constantly fabricating and modifying sports gear to make it work for his clients. David says "what Eric offers, these opportunities, I think it’s probably going to, it might re-spark some body's light. It's going to make them feel good again."
Eric can provide places to hunt and fish, but he says one of things he enjoys the most is making it possible for clients to return to their favorite spots. He says when he guides, he stresses safety, ethical hunting and fishing and most importantly perhaps, a day when the worries and limitations are set aside.
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