Over the years, Gene Barnes, his brother Greg and their father Harlyn enjoyed hunting small game, deer and elk together. Both Gene and Greg experienced the thrill of taking an elk, but not Harlyn – not their dad.
Ask Gene how long he’s been hunting and fishing and he’ll tell you that it spans four decades of time spent with his dad and brother in the great outdoors.
“This is due to my father taking his time with me and my brother to show us this great way of life,” said Gene, of Benton, KY. “He’s been taking my brother and I hunting and fishing since we could walk.”
Having been a proud union member of both the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) and Teamsters unions nearly as long has he’s been hunting and fishing, Gene is equally as appreciative to a part of the union brotherhood.
“I am proud to say that I am a union member,” Gene said.
In an all-new January episode of USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV Series, Barnes shares a touching story about how these two worlds come together in an outpouring display of support, love and gratitude.
Last April, the family tragically and suddenly lost Greg when he died of severe injuries from a devastating explosion while on the job. Greg left behind Gene, their father, a wife and two daughters. He was just 48-years-old. When Harlyn and Gene heard about the accident, they rushed to the hospital in Dayton, Ohio to be with him.
“We knew it was bad…but not that bad,” recalled Gene.
The family soon got the news that started what Gene called, “the worst days of our lives.”
The doctors told them Greg’s burns from the injury were so extensive, he stood only a small chance of making it.
“This is where I am truly blessed to be a union member,” Gene said.
Hundreds of Greg’s co-workers visited Greg and his family during those difficult weeks to share stories and to show their support. It struck Gene when he realized that even though his brother – a manager at a steel company in Ohio was not a union member – that 90% of the people that came to visit Greg during those difficult weeks were members of the IAMAW. To date, the local union has raised money for Greg’s wife and children to the tune of $10,000.
“It is truly amazing that there would be such an outpouring of love and generosity from union members toward a `company person.’ I know how well loved and respected my brother was by all of my fellow union brothers and sisters,” he said.
Through all of this, Gene’s thoughts of concern stayed with his dad and the heartbreak of losing a son.
“My father has not been the same,” he said.
Realizing that Harlyn’s fondest memories surround hunting with his sons, Gene set out to help him recapture that feeling and achieve that longtime goal of taking an elk.
Fast forward to this exciting episode of Brotherhood Outdoors, when co-hosts Daniel Lee and Julie McQueen take Harlyn and Gene into the woods near Pocatello and Bear Lake, Idaho with sights set on an elk that Harlyn finally can call his own.
Join them on day one as they glass for elk along steep hills, face the cold and deal with unplanned challenges. Feel their anticipation, as they try a shot, miss and head out to find a new ridge line, determined to get in front of that elk for one more shot. Experience the thrill when the father/son team spots a bull 190 yards out!
Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on the Sportsman Channel.