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Hunter with a new heart asks for help

10/03/13 -- Dear Editor: My name is Anwar Nassar. I live in Hollywood but I was born in Bethlehem, Palestine of the Christian faith and have been a U.S. citizen since 1992. You mentioned me and my brother, Samir, in articles about dove hunting at Wren’s Hunting Club near Red Bluff during the past two Septembers.

I thought your readers might be interested in how I became an avid game-bird hunter and I wanted to share with them why I have been able to enjoy this wonderful outdoor sport more than ever over the last five years.

You see, I owe my life to wonderful doctors and medical facilities here in the USA and thanks to a heart transplant in 2009 I am now able to enjoy outdoor sports and life in general to a far greater extent than I did over 20 years ago.

I arrived in the USA in 1968 and studied at Woodbury University in Los Angeles and Burbank, where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in science and my master’s degree in business administration. I worked as controller for two companies until 1982 then I went out on my own as a system’s and business consultant, my present occupation.

I began bird hunting in the old country where I hunted quail, partridge, doves, band tail pigeons, Hungarian partridge (chukar) and Egyptian ducks.

My heart problems started when I was 31 in 1982 when I had my first heart attack. My second heart attack came 16 years later in 1998, then my third in 1999. I had triple bypass surgery in 2000 and a CID was inserted to help my heart. After that I lived with CHF (congestive heart failure) but in 2005 my doctors decided to put me on the list for a heart transplant at Saint Vincent Hospital in Los Angeles. That program was closed and I was transferred to a list at UCLA in 2007 as an outpatient. In July of 2009 I was admitted to the hospital and place on the inpatient list. After many tests and procedures, I was put on A 1 list and on August 9 of that year I was notified I had a donor. On August 10 the transplantation was done and for the past 4 years I have lived a remarkably fuller and more enjoyable life.

Letter to the Editor: The heart of the matter, hunters, dove hunters, Anwar Nassar, AHA, Sam Nassar, Anwar, Samir, Frank Galusha outdoor recreation, sportsmen
Anwar and Samir (“Sam”) Nassar got dove limits in 2012 at Wren’s Dove Hunt near Red Bluff. Photo by Frank Galusha

Until my heart issues began I had always been a very active hunter and angler in both Southern and Northern California. I met Jon Wren in 1994 when I first hunted his place. Of course, that was interrupted by my heart problems from 2000 to 2010 when I was able to resume hunting. I had hunted chukar, quail and pheasant, both wild and club birds, including doves at the Tejon Ranch; chukar, valley and mountain quail in China Lake and elsewhere. The best place I hunted was and is at Wren’s….for the good company of hunters he has and where I met you. I also fished trout in Northern California with my brother who is also a hunter and a fisherman and I fished the ocean off Southern California as well.

You asked how I felt before and after my heart transplant. Frank, I was a dead man walking but now I feel like a brand new man. I walk an average of six miles daily. I go hunting and fishing with more stamina than I had when I was 31.

You also asked me about freedom in the U.S. compared to that in Palestine. There is no comparison. In effect, Palestine has been occupied since 1948 when it was partitioned by the United Nations. Chaos has reigned ever since. Today, the Palestinian people have few if any rights or freedom. We Americans are indeed fortunate. We have many protections thanks to our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and second amendment is vital. Allow me to quote from the Bible:

Genesis 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

4:9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

So my friend guns do not kill, people do! So it is good that we can keep and bear arms. We are also lucky to have such great healthcare, which is something for which I am especially grateful. On November 2nd I will be participating in a Walk for the American Heart Association in Santa Monica. I hope those who read my story go to my webpage and sign up to walk or to donate. The progress medicine has made to reduce the risk of heart failure and to care for those of us who were not born with a strong and healthy heart has been remarkable. This progress is described on the Walk webpage and I sincerely hope your readers will join me in this crusade to ensure others are given the new life and opportunity I have enjoyed. Sincerely, Anwar

[Editor’s Note: Nassar says hunting in Bethlehem was a way of living when Palestine was under occupation by the Ottoman Turks. Food was scarce and people started looking for meat to eat. Then the British occupied Palestine and introduced modern hunting guns and famous hunters appeared. One was an uncle on his Mother’s side of the family who introduced him to hunting along with his two brothers George (deceased) and Samir (of the Bay Area). Hunting in Palestine evidently took place in the Jordan Valley and all over what is now known as the West Bank.]

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