I grew up in a small Texas town outside of Austin. It was here that I met Kile West. Our friendship started off slow, but it seemed like every year we got a little closer and by the time our senior year came around our friendship had grown strong and we decided to room together our first year of college.
Just a week into our first semester of college 9/11 happened. We were all irate and we hung old western style “Bin Laden Wanted, Dead or Alive” posters all over our apartment, but in particular this tragic event lit a passion inside of Kile. He had talked about joining the military before, but after that day it was set in stone. Our sophmore year we transferred to different universities. He enrolled at Stephen F. Austin where he joined the ROTC program, and then to the Army after he graduated.
Kile & I had plans to go hunting together when he came home for R&R. He wanted a javelina and an Axis Deer. I Stayed busy making plans for us to go on the hunting trip together so he could harvest his first animals with his new M1A1. When we talked on the phone or emailed each other the hunt was always one of our main topics of conversation. It was something for Kile to look forward to and it was something I could do for my friend who I missed and wanted to show my gratitude to. When I got the news that Kile was taken from us I became consumed with his wishes being met. His dad gave me a couple of Kile’s guns including his M1A1 that he had not yet been able to use and that is when I decided I would use his new gun to shoot an Axis and Javelina for Kile. After making the 2 kills I put the gun away, it is Kile’s gun and something I will always have to remember him by. I truly wish he would have been able to pull the trigger himself and that I could have been there with him to experience his excitement, this is why I have started the Kile G. West Outdoor Sports Program. I want to give people the opportunity to fulfill their wishes, to do things they may not be able to do otherwise, to introduce them to something new, to tell them I am thankful and I had a friend like them that made me want to do this for them. I want something positive to come from Kile’s passing and I can not think of a better opportunity to honor him and our friendship then getting people like him that have sacrificed so much into the outdoors and doing the things they love. Kile West has forever changed my life, I am fortunate to have known him and he is still with me in everything I do.
Derek M Harris
Aim Straight Outdoors