Last updated: April 11. 2014 7:55AM - 1053 Views
By Kevin Boozer kboozer@civitasmedia.com

One part of Terry Cotney's mission to veterans is giving Teddy Bears like this one to the children of veterans.
One part of Terry Cotney's mission to veterans is giving Teddy Bears like this one to the children of veterans.
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PROSPERITY — For Prosperity resident and Air Force veteran Terry Cotney, a leap of faith resulted in a sacred space to promote healing and wholeness.

The lodge for the Freedom and Hope Foundation provides Cody and other children with life threatening diseases or life altering diseases with a gift Terry Cotney envisioned when he founded the Freedom and Hope Foundation.

The outreach is a volunteer ministry supported by churches, area civic groups, and private donations.

In 2010 he founded Freedom and Hope to provide hunting and fishing activities as recreational therapy for children with life threatening diseases and for wounded military, both active duty and veterans.

Three memorial hunts are held each year in honor of veterans but Cotney said the group is open to holding more if possible.

Cotney said they host 30 to 40 events per year and provide housing.

“It’s not about how many fish you catch or deer you kill. These hunts are about fellowship,” Cotney said.

For the hunts, meals are provided and veterans and children have the option of spending the night at the Freedom and Hope Foundation lodge, which sleeps around 20 people.

Leap of faith

A member of Bethel Baptist Church in Prosperity, Cotney said he was driving one day past the old rescue squad building off Holland’s Landing Road where his group met. He said he prayed for the Lord to show him a place he could build a respite for heroes.

“I pulled over to the side of the road and prayed and then learned that spot where I prayed was for sale. We did not purchase that property but found some within a few miles that was suitable,” he said. “It was a burning bush moment. God called me to be a Good Samaritan but I’ve learned I can’t do it by myself.”

Cotney actually bought the land himself before donating it to the organization.

He said the Lord has provided such as in 2010 when he received a donation of electric wheelchairs. One veteran donated a pontoon.

Volunteers from Operation Inasmuch built walls for a storage shed and earlier in the week a group from Trinity United Methodist Church did work on the lodge.

“Various denominations are on board with us working for the cause of God and Country,” Cotney said.

Freedom and Hope also partners with the Wounded Warrior Project, South Carolina DNR, and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Vision to expand

A veteran and the brother of a Baptist minister, Cotney envisions expanding the ministry.

Freedom and Hope foundation recently began a capital campaign and Cotney hopes to find around 100 people to sponsor hunts and fishing activities.

He’s asking for donations of $35 a month or one-time donations of $400 to help them meet expenses.

With a fund in place, Cotney said he could devote more energy toward reaching out to veterans and young people, which is his passion.

Right now, he and his board of directors devote a substantial effort to raising funds and collecting donations of paper products, food, drinks, fish food, and other items. He said he is thankful for the support from the community.

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