Education, shooting: Couple combines their passions to assist others

Michael Higgins and his wife Melinda Branchini of Forestburg. (Photos by Dani Blackburn)

By DANI BLACKBURN
Michael Higgins and his wife, Melinda Branchini, of Forestburg found a way to ingeniously unite their two passions — education and shooting — in a way that gives back others when they created the Higgins Branchini Shooting Foundation.
The HBSF is a national charitable organization providing funds to collegiate students competing in clay target shooting sports.
“We don’t have any children and we wanted to give back,” explained Branchini. “I’m interested in academics and my husband is interested in shooting, so we blended the two.”
HBSF is possibly the only organization of its kind giving grants to individual collegiate shooters rather than groups and teams. Since its creation, the organization has given $120,000 to students at 42 different universities in 22 different states from California to Connecticut.

Higgins began shooting at nine-years-old with rifles, before trying a shotgun with moving targets. He eventually grew tired of clay targets and discovered Helice in the early ‘90s. He was hooked.
“I thought moving targets were more fun than stationary, and I’m a capitalist at heart and realized I could compete and make money. I mostly paid for college doing that, I went to the Olympic stuff, I didn’t make the team, but got close,” recalled Higgins.

Read the full feature in the mid-week News.