With hundreds of hunters and others in attendance at the Knox Community Center on Sunday, the community said good bye to Eric Corey, of Knox.
Corey, 25, was the subject of many stories about his battle with ALS, his beating the odds for 10 years while hunting all over the world and setting up an event where other people with disabilities could enjoy the sport he loved so much. For three years, Eric and his family organized an event called Turkey Tracks and it grew every year with disabled people going turkey hunting with guides.
His death Wednesday saddened the entire community.
DNR Officer John Dean talked about Eric during the services yesterday.
“Eric experienced more as an outdoorsman in his short time than most of us will come close to in a full lifetime,” said Dean. “To define Eric’s character, you really don’t need to look much further than the Turkey Tracks hunt. Eric loved to hunt and he had enough friends and contacts that he could pretty much go on any hunt he wanted. So one year, Carol asked him where he wanted to go and Eric said he’d like to bring in some people to hunt to pay back what people had done for him.”
Dean continued this way.
“A life that most of us would be angry and feel cheated, maybe thinking that we owed something for our misfortune, Eric thought of other people. He wanted to pay it forward. He was mature as an outdoorsman way beyond his years. He realized that the greatest part of hunting is the bonding and relationships that are developed by sharing the outdoor experience.”
“He knew what it meant to be around other people with illnesses and disabilities and what it meant to them to see that people care and want to help give them a great experience. He knew that there was more to hunting than killing a deer or turkey. He came to the stage of a hunter that a lot of people never come to. He realized that giving back to the sport and to the people who take part in it and helping preserve a hunting heritage is what it’s all about.”
At the end of the services, pall bearers in camouflage gear entered with lighted coon hunter caps on and removed the casket.
Donations for the fourth Turkey Tracks event are being collected by the Doug Corey family or the M.C. Smith Funeral Home.