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Georgia-Pacific Monticello Hosts “Catch-A-Dream” Weekend

THE PRENTISS HEADLIGHT / From left to right: Harold Griffith, hunt master and Georgia-Pacific employee from Monticello; Scott Vidrine of Lafayette, LA; and 14-year-old Keegan Vidrine of Lafayette, LA.

THE PRENTISS HEADLIGHT / From left to right: Harold Griffith, hunt master and Georgia-Pacific employee from Monticello; Scott Vidrine of Lafayette, LA; and 14-year-old Keegan Vidrine of Lafayette, LA.

It didn’t take long for Keegan Vidrine to “catch his dream.”

The 14-year-old from Lafayette, Louisiana, shot a six-point buck and a doe within hours of arriving at the Georgia-Pacific Monticello Containerboard Mill on his “Catch-A-Dream” weekend.

GP Monticello has been privileged to annually host “Catch-A-Dream,’’ the Starkville, Miss., based organization that grants once-in-a-lifetime hunting and fishing experiences to children 18 years of age or younger who have life-threatening illnesses.

Keegan was born with a congenital heart condition and other related medical conditions. However, he loves the outdoors and is no rookie hunter, with five years of supervised hunting experience.

Going out with Monticello hunt master Harold Griffith, Keegan’s father Scott, and Brian Chisholm of Catch-A-Dream, Keegan first got a doe, but then spotted the buck before the others in the blind and made the shot himself, completing his hunting experience within hours of arriving at Monticello.

“This program gives children such a great outdoors experience,” said Brent Collins, Georgia-Pacific vice-president and Monticello mill manager. “We are truly blessed with all the wildlife we have here on mill property. Georgia-Pacific does not allow hunting on mill property but we were able to get special permission, as part of the Catch-A-Dream experience, for Keegan to hunt here this weekend.

“We hope that this weekend Keegan will make a lot of new friends here at GP and memories to cherish forever. He and his family are now part of the lives of Georgia-Pacific Monticello’s family.”

Keegan was accompanied on this trip by his father, mother, and younger brother.

“Catch-A-Dream” was created on a vision of noted Mississippi outdoorsman, author and sculptor Bruce Brady, who drew strength and hope from his beloved outdoor experiences. While battling cancer, Brady became deeply concerned that the world’s largest children’s wish granting organization, the “Make-A-Wish” Foundation, established national policy that precludes granting a child a wish that involved hunting or use of “… firearms, hunting bows, or other hunting or sport-shooting equipment.”

Brady envisioned a program that would fill this service gap and provide life-changing outdoor experiences for terminally ill children at a time when “….these children need to know that hope does, indeed, exist.”

Although Brady died before his vision was anything more than an idea, Catch-A-Dream was created by a small group of outdoorsmen who embraced the vision and created what quickly became a nationally-recognized foundation.

GP Monticello has been privileged to host a “Catch-A-Dream” trip on an annual basis, allowing children and their family to stay on site and hunt or fish on 1,600 acres of the 2,200 acre Monticello containerboard property that are actively managed for wildlife and recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council’s as a “Wildlife at Work” program.

While Georgia-Pacific is proud of its association with “Catch-A-Dream,’’ it is also a community event. In addition to hunting GP Monticello’s otherwise protected property, the family was treated to meals in local restaurants; Keegan spent an afternoon at Brookhaven’s “The Bullet Hole” indoor firing range; and Allen Morgan donated taxidermy services for the deer, as he has done for all the Catch- A-Dream hunts at Georgia-Pacific.

For more information on “Catch-A-Dream,’’ visit www.catchadream.org.

For more information on GP-Monticello’s participation in the program, contact public affairs manager Ray Melick at Ray.Melick@gapac.com