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Fundraising efforts launched for injured deer hunter

A deer hunt turned to tragedy for a Pomona man. Howell County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a missing adult near Pomona on Nov. 18, the second Saturday of deer season. According to information from HSCO, the reporting party said her father had gone deer hunting earlier that afternoon. The man, Justin Collins, of Pomona, had not been seen or heard from since 3:00 p.m. 
Multiple deputies and a K-9 unit searched the area where Collins should have been, but did not locate him. Officers immediately contacted EMS to be on standby near the scene and called Corporal Matt Foster to respond to the scene with his thermal imaging drone to help in the search.
Within an hour of arriving on the scene, officers tracked the subject into the woods with the help of Deputy First Class Travis Weaver's K-9, and Cpl. Foster's drone.
Collins was on the ground where he had fallen out of his climbing tree stand. While Deputies Wade Gordan and James Wardrip checked the extent of the hunter’s injuries, Cpl. Foster and Deputy Tessa Jens navigated EMS close to the location to extract the injured subject. 
Collins was airlifted to a Springfield hospital. According to the GoFundMe page set up by the family, his injuries are severe, and likely permanent. 
“With a heavy heart, we share that Justin has been diagnosed with quadriplegia. This condition presents significant challenges and necessitates comprehensive, long-term care,” says an update published Nov. 25. 
Fundraising efforts surpassed the initial goal of $5,000 and are now hoping to raise $10,000. 
“The donations received so far have been instrumental in allowing Justin’s family to stay by his side. As we prepare for his rehabilitation, the need for travel and accommodation will increase,” says the page. 
Additional surgeries and long-term rehabilitation remain on the horizon. To donate or share the fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/medical-expenses-for-justin-collins.
 
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