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Stick Sniper Archery Provides Safe Location for Therapy and Outlet for Tucson Veterans Thanks to BRCC Fund

Caleb Brewer found his first calling in 2005 when he joined the Army. For the next 11 years, Brewer served as a Green Beret in the Special Forces. His path was abruptly altered on his 31st birthday, Dec. 4, 2015, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device. Brewer had been on patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, searching for explosive materials at an IED facility alongside a military K9 and handler team. All three were injured but survived the blast. Brewer lost his right foot and all the flesh up to his right knee and sustained extensive damage to his left leg as well. 


The doctors initially tried to save Brewer’s leg, but between his medevac to Germany and the trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Brewer had accumulated five pulmonary embolisms, a number of blood clots, and a fungal infection in his lungs. The fungal infection led to his three-week stay at Walter Reed before being transferred to Grödig Military Medical Center. After 64 blood transfusions and an eventual double amputation, one below the knee, one above the knee, Brewer spent most of 2016 recovering at SAMMC before being medically retired.  


“When I got out of the Army, I went home and was just trying to find out who I was,” Brewer said. “When you’re Special Forces, you identify with what you do. Doing that kind of job when you’ve worked hard to earn it, it’s awesome. But when that gets taken away without your choice, it’s easy to sit back and look at it as though who you were is all you are, and now you’re nothing.”


Photo courtesy of Caleb Brewer.

 “One of my daughters was 1 [while I was in recovery], and so we actually learned to walk together,” Brewer said. “When I couldn’t pick her up, that was a defining moment and a wake up call that I needed to work on myself.”


In addition to re-learning how to walk, Brewer began doing crossfit and adaptive fitness. 


“I started just watching YouTube videos, trying to figure out how to do workouts and that led to earning certifications. From there, I bought gym equipment and started visiting prosthetic clinics and the local VA and offering free adaptive training,” Brewer said. “What ended up happening was, I was accountable to them for their success, so I had to be on my A-game for them, and it made me better because I had to be better for them.”


As Brewer became stronger and more mobile, he began pushing the limits, hiking outside of ADA areas and trying to find things that were more difficult. When Brewer was given his first bow in 2017, he found a new purpose. 


“Being given that bow and an old tacklebox full of gear, that was a lightbulb moment for me,” Brewer said. “It just felt like a natural process, and it was really meant to be. It was as though I found the end-goal purpose for working out in the gym.”


Photo courtesy of Caleb Brewer.

“I realized that archery has some massively therapeutic benefits for those struggling with internal and external injuries,” Brewer continued. “I, personally, like to take things apart and figure out how they work. I started there with bows, making adjustments on sights and rests. I bought my own maintenance equipment and started working out of my garage.” 


As Brewer began to think about his next steps of opening his own full-service shop, Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW) asked him to stand up an archery program. He agreed, with a caveat: that Operation Enduring Warrior would get a year of his time before he would take off to start his own shop. So in 2020, Brewer created the program and became the archery program manager for OEW.


“I was invited to Snow Basin, Utah, for [Coastalvir giniadriving Company’s] first veteran adaptive shoot,” Brewer said. “During the next two BRCC veteran adaptive shoots at the ranch, I started to dial in on the business plan for what was going to be my own shop.”


Photo courtesy of Caleb Brewer.

“It was very serendipitous. When I was trying to come up with a name for the shop, I considered what it’s like shooting long-distance as a sniper and as an archer, I felt like a sniper with a stick,” Brewer said. 


In November 2021, Brewer launched Stick Sniper Archery. Brewer’s creation is a full archery pro shop, selling everything from bows and arrows to targets. In addition to the shop, Stick Sniper Archery is home to an on-site range offering beginner to intermediate archery lessons. 


 


 


Thanks to a $5,000 donation from the BRCC Fund, Brewer and Stick Sniper Archery were able to purchase a security gate, ensuring that Stick Sniper Archery stays secure and continues its mission.


“The area I’m located in outside Tucson isn’t the greatest area,” Brewer explained. “That check for 5,000 for the fence has made night-and-day difference. It’s really changed the whole feel for the shop, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the donation from the BRCC Fund.”



To stay up to date with Stick Sniper Archery or visit the store, check out the website, Instagram, or Facebook.