On one particular day, Sergeant Villareal was the point man leading his unit. He stepped on a land mine that destroyed the lower part of his right leg, his left arm below the elbow and the trigger finger on his right hand. The injuries ravaged his body, tested his mind and earned him a Purple Heart for valor.
|Looking for elk on Fort Hunter Liggett|
Despite those physical and mental challenges, Villareal lives on. He serves as the president of RE/MAX Real Estate in Santa Maria, California. He also loves the outdoors and is a life member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
This past March, Lacy Harber and wife Dorothy attended the RMEF Big Game Banquet in Fresno. Lacy paid $7,500 to purchase a hunt for Villareal at Fort Hunter Liggett (FHL) located approximately 130 miles south of San Jose. He then bought his own tag for an additional $20,000. (The money raised from the sale of the tags goes directly to RMEF which is allocated back onto the ground at FHL for the abatement of noxious weeds and the installation of water guzzlers in the dry and arid climate of California’s Central Coast.)
|Lacy Harber and his Tule elk|
The hunt took part in August during the “heat” of summer—and that in itself is a major understatement. Temperatures hovered at or above the 100 degree mark but that didn’t stop Villareal. He overcame the sun, the heat and the rugged terrain to take by a blacktail deer and a 7x7 Tule elk that scores more than 300.
|Nick Passmore, Richard Villareal and Richard's son Ryan|
(left to right)
A special thank you goes out to all who helped make the hunt a success—Don Nead, Lou Prusinovski, Steven Adam, Glen McMurtry, Jim Kilber, Rob Pike and Col. Donna Williams, Garrison Commander over the personnel of Fort Hunter Liggett, US Army Combat Support Training Center.
|Richard poses with his 7x7 Tule elk|