“Now we know what we can do. As long as we stick with that, we’re in good shape.”



Just like when I was a youngster, the doves flocked to the harvested corn and planted wheat. Although he wasn’t the oldest by a couple of years, Lamar Harrison, Eubanks’ father-in-law, was among the elder faction in the field.

Meanwhile, plenty of fathers with their sons and daughters got a chance to shoot doves or, at least, deplete the ammunition on hand, which reminded me of those cherished days afield with my father.



At the hunt was a young dad on a mission, although his young daughters were back home in Columbus, Miss.

 Kevin Drewry, a native of Pickens County, had been a waterfowl hunting guide at Mallard Manor in the Mississippi Delta for more than six years when he was called to a new, life-changing vocation.



Drewry is now the Southeastern Regional Missionary for Fathers in the Field, a mission started by John Smithbaker, former CEO of the Brunton Outdoor Group, which specializes in optics and equipment for outdoors adventures.



Despite his success with Brunton, Drewry said Smithbaker had a hard time dealing with his past.

 “John was basically fatherless,” Drewry said.

“In fact, his father wanted his mother to abort him. He carried around a deep, soulful wound. He didn’t turn to drugs and alcohol, where that many fatherless kids end up.

“John strove for excellence. He thought if he achieved this or that his father would love him and desire to be with him.



“He carried that around for a long time. About 14 years ago, he forgave his earthly father and was inspired to start a program designed to get outdoorsmen involved in an intentional effort to mentor fatherless boys, which became ‘Fathers in the Field.’”



The program goes through local churches, where prospective mentors are required to undergo a national background check and have the local pastor’s approval, as well as the backing of another person in the community.



“There is an intentional effort each month with a particular child to have four meetings a month,” Drewry said. “The commitment is for three years. The monthly commitment consists of church at least twice a month. Then one time a month, they go and serve a widow in the church or community. It demonstrates to him how to care for widows and serve others. It helps them look outside of their circumstances of hurt and pain and into the lives of others.



“The fourth part is the mentor carries the child on a fun activity. It might be hunting, fishing or shooting bows in the backyard. It may be golfing or biking or hiking. At the end of that meeting, they go over a Bible curriculum.