aA nonprofit organized in Oklahoma to benefit veterans and military families is planning a benefit dove hunt Sept. 1 at Spur Ranch, located along Highway 60, 14.8 miles west of Vinita.


Don Pitts of Sand Springs, a retired Air Force colonel who is an avid outdoorsman and hunter, is president of the Witkop Foundation. He said proceeds from the Sept. 1 dove hunt at Spur Ranch will be used to help finance a memorial safari to South Africa in May 2019 for the family of a fallen military aviator, the late Maj. Troy Gilbert, who died in action in Iraq in 2006, while providing air cover for ground forces under attack.


The memorial safari for Gilbert’s family had been planned for earlier this year, but it had to be canceled due to illness.


“This is one of our large fundraising activities,” Pitts said, regarding the planned dove hunt.


The Witkop Foundation is still a very young organization, having been founded in late 2017. For more about the foundation, its principal officers and its programs, visit www.witkopfoundation.org.


The site features bio sketches of officers and description of foundation programs. For instance, Pitts describes his efforts with the organization as being rooted in both patriotism and a desire to promote responsible wildlife management that promotes the preservation of animal species and natural resources.


Pitts explained that Operation Patriot Safari, the foundation initiative through which the memorial safari for Gilbert’s family will be organized, is specifically intended to benefit veterans and families affected by combat wounds or deaths.


For more information about the Sept. 1 dove hunt, including registration details, contact Pitts at (817) 845-9507, or contact Gary Lanham at (918) 510-0032.


Also, to register online, visit https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/Mzc4OTI=.


Lanham, an Air Force veteran from the Skiatook/Hominy area and a former Hominy city manager, is helping to organize the dove hunt. He explained that Spur Ranch has offered to provide food service for the event. He also said there will be on-site medical attention available for anyone who might need it.