News: Quantico Rod and Gun Club hosts wounded veteran picnic
Story by Lance Cpl. David Flynn
QUANTICO, Va. - Members of the Quantico Rod and Gun Club hosted a picnic to honor the service and sacrifice of wounded veterans at Lunga Park, May 14.
“We started this picnic because we care about our wounded veterans,” said Robinson. “We want to give something of ourselves to our veterans without asking anything of them in return.”
In support of this year’s event, local Marines volunteered to assist. The day prior to the picnic, the Marines set up tents, tables and chairs, as well as helped prepare some of the food.
“Marines take care of their own, and this was a great opportunity to support some of our wounded veterans,” said Lt. Col. Rex Sappenfield, assistant chief of staff, G-1, Marine Corps Recruiting Command.
The morning of the picnic, club members and volunteers from a local Boy Scout troop arrived hours early to continue preparations. Their duties included cooking the food, preparing beverages and assembling fishing poles provided by Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is an organization dedicated to teaching wounded veterans the sport of fly fishing. The organization is currently in the process of opening a chapter at Quantico to provide services to wounded warriors aboard the base.
Following preparations for the day’s events, the 22 guests of honor from area hospitals arrived to enjoy the food, fishing and entertainment provided, which included a live band and DJ.
Standing in formation awaiting the arrival of the honored guests were scouts from Boy Scout Troop 1919, based out of Dale City, Va. The scouts rendered salutes and thanked the veterans for the service as they passed by.
“Some of the scout’s parents are members of the Rod and Gun Club,” said Bill Fortner, assistant scoutmaster, Troop 1919. “They asked us to come out here and help with the picnic and we were honored to do so.”
The scouts also provided a flag detail during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and the Pledge of Allegiance as well as served meals to the veterans in attendance.
Joining the wounded service members for lunch was Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia’s first congressional district.
After their meal, many veterans took advantage of Project Healing Water’s services, casting lines out in hopes of landing a fish.
One fisherman was wounded veteran Vic McCarley, a former U.S. Army soldier from Lattimore, N.C.
“I enjoyed the food and I use to go fishing everyday so I’m having a great time,” said McCarley.
McCarley’s sentiment was shared by many picnic-goers who did not let the rain and cloudy skies dampen their day.
“Our volunteers and club members have been great,” said Robinson. “They deserve all the credit for today’s success. If we made just one of the veterans smile today, it is worth it to me.”
The Rod and Gun Club has a membership of approximately 80 people and is open to active duty service members, retired military and Department of Defense personnel. For more information on the club, visit their website at www.qrgc.org .