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“Wild Wishes” exciting, inspiring

By Chester Moore Jr.
News Outdoors Editor

Wild experiences follow me around.
Actually, I have spent a lifetime seeking them out from catching 50 flounder in one afternoon with my Dad on Sabine Lake to traversing the rainforests of South America, my life has overflowed with wildlife encounters.
None of these could compare to watching a little girl who suffered a tremendous loss in her life, get to meet a zebra. That wasn’t just exciting, it was humbling.
I felt led to ask this child if she could meet any animal on the planet, what would it be? Her answer was a zebra.
That ended up being our first Kingdom Zoo “Wild Wish”-a program that facilitates animal encounters for kids who have had a loss (parent, sibling, etc.) or have a terminal illness.
Our “Wild Wishes” project is not about hunting or fishing as there are already wonderful programs that grant those types of wishes.
Our second was a wolf related one to a wonderful little boy suffering from a form of cancer (now in remission!) thanks to our friends at Exotic Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo in New Braunfels as well as my friend David Cleaver and his wolf dog “Lucy”.
The last 18 months have been an amazing time of learning and experience.
Who would think there are zebras in Jasper, TX for example?
Our sweet young friend got to encounter two of them out there.
Cool, huh?
My grandmother, late Ruby Pickard, founded an organization called My Wish Inc. in 1982 to grant wishes to terminally ill children in Southeast Texas. At eight years old, I accompanied her on that first wish where a little boy who simply asked for an American flag to fly over his home in Mauriceville.
That had a huge impact because at the time I would asked for something extravagant like a live elephant, a black marlin fishing trip to the Pacific or the entire Star Wars merchandise collection but here was a boy my age with leukemia wanting a humble flag. That event and being able to see her give so many children happiness birthed a heart for kids even while I was one.
I am a little hesitant to speak much about the chairtable work my wife Lisa and I engage in but I know that people must know about it for it to work. We also are seeking out children who may qualify for a “wild wish”.
There are certain basic guidelines were (previously mentioned) and if you know of a child who might need some wild inspiration email me at chester@kingdomzoo.com. I figure the fishermen, hunters and wildlife lovers of our readership know plenty of kids who love animals and maybe need a little help.
The other side is that you can do your own wild inspiration for children.
Maybe it is not one who suffered a loss of a parent or who has a terminal illness but perhaps it’s one with a difficult family situation or is simply lonely.
By taking them fishing, hunting or about wildlife photography, you can make a huge difference in their lives.
Southeast Texas is full of opportunities to do just that with trips to places like Sea Rim State Park or the Big Thicket National Preserve holding the keys to true adventure that some kids desperately need. Involvement makes a big difference.
The next time you wet a line or go out to the deer lease, considering bringing a kid with you. It might just change their life.
You can be the difference maker and have a wild time in the process.
To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at chester@kingdomzoo.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online atwww.klvi.com.

About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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