By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
A hunter from Webster County and the Kansas farmer to whom he donated a kidney are teaming up again, this time to help others.
Rob “Bobcat” Robinson of Eupora and Gillan Alexander of Nicodemus, Kan., have started a nonprofit organization called “Forever Outdoors.” Their goal is help people overcome obstacles that stand between them and outdoor experiences.
As reported in an article published last December in the Progress-Times, the two first met in 2008 when Robinson was turkey hunting on Alexander’s farm, and they became good friends. Alexander, who had been fighting a kidney disease for about 20 years, was on kidney dialysis treatment by 2011 and badly in need of a transplant.
Robinson, who is a firefighter with the Starkville Fire Department, decided he would check to see if he could help and discovered his kidney was a match. After Alexander was cleared last year to receive a transplant from Robinson, the transplant was successfully completed on Nov. 26 at Kansas University Hospital.
Both men now say they want to give back because of their blessings, resulting in their decision to launch Forever Outdoors. Robinson said he has always wanted to start a hunting business — not for the money but to give back. Alexander, out of gratitude for his friendship and his kidney donation, told Robinson he wanted to help him.
“Both of us have been so blessed we wanted to give something back,” Alexander said Tuesday from his Kansas home. “We hope to be able to help people who can’t enjoy the outdoors (including kidney patients).”
For their initial project, they are organizing a “wounded warriors” deer hunting trip to Alexander’s place in Kansas for five soldiers who were severely injured in combat. Three are from Houston, one is from Winona and another is from Vicksburg.
“We want to do this top-notch,” Robinson said.
The organization is accepting donations to fund the trip and hunt, but Robinson said one of the main needs is for someone to volunteer to take the wounded warriors to Kansas in a motorhome. The hunt is set for Sept. 13-21 and Robinson said it is about 1,000 miles to Alexander’s property.
Anyone wanting to make a donation may make checks payable to “Forever Outdoors” and mail them to Robinson at 975 Starnes Tabernacle Road, Eupora, MS 39744. For more information, call Robinson at 662-341-0404 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexander traveled to Mississippi in April to visit Robinson and his family, and said he enjoyed the Southern hospitality.
During his stay with Robinson and his wife, Sharon, he rode four-wheelers, learned to drink sweet tea, and visited the Mississippi State University campus during Super Bulldog Weekend.
“I had a real good time,” Alexander said, adding that he was overwhelmed with how he was treated. “Everybody was just great.”