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    Wounded Warriors cast lines for fish, catch memories

    Wounded Warriors cast lines for fish, catch memories

    Photo By Edward Rivera | Marcus Schimank, manager, Canyon Lake and Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Byron C. Hepburn,...... read more read more



    Story by Clayton Church and Edward Rivera

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District

    GRAPEVINE, Texas - For most people, going fishing on a weekend morning isn’t that big of a deal. After a tough work week going out on a lake with friends and family provides a nice break from being at the office or in the field. But for a wounded warrior it’s a break from hospitals, doctors and rigorous physical therapy.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Grapevine and Canyon Lakes recently hosted “Take A Warrior Fishing“ events providing 56 warriors and 42 family members a respite from their daily routines with a day on a lake fishing and enjoying the scenic views.

    “We had great turnouts at both events. Our warriors and their families were taken out by volunteer boat captains for a fun morning of fishing, then lunch provided by our sponsors,” said Cheryl Jasper, event project manager and Fort Worth District natural resource specialist.

    Established in 2011, the “Take a Warrior Fishing” program is designed to support military personnel and their families, specifically targeting persons assigned to Warrior Transition Commands, by creating an adaptive community-based outdoor recreation experience through the sport of fishing. The main goals of this program are to restore well-being by increasing family interaction, encouraging outdoor recreation, and supporting positive, social interactions that help transitioning service members rebuild connections with the civilian world.

    “Take a Warrior Fishing” ¬was formed by The 'Catch a Special Thrill' [CAST] for Kids Foundation, a public charity formed in 1991 to join volunteers who love to fish with special needs children for a day of fishing in the outdoors. The CAST for Kids Program is designed to create an environment whereby special needs children and their caretakers could benefit, leaving their problems on shore and sharing a day of fun on the water that they may not otherwise get to experience.

    "We have been involved with CAST for Kids since the early 1990s and are proud to be able to introduce kids to the joy of fishing,” said Charlie Burger, chief, Operations Division, Fort Worth District. “But through this event, we are able to provide the opportunity for some of our wounded warriors and family members time to leave their stress and concerns behind, and just relax and go fishing.”

    Events like these not only provide opportunities for our military and their families but also are a way for local community members to show their support through sponsorship, donations and as volunteers. A combined 44 sponsors donated shirts, caps, rods, reels, tackle boxes, tackle, breakfast, sandwiches, cookies, barbecue and trimmings, drinks, boat fuel, goodie bag items, piñatas, pumpkins, candy and more to ensure the event was one to remember.

    "My thanks go out to the Corps of Engineers for being the lead agency for both of the Take a Warrior Fishing event these past two weeks,” said Jim Owens, executive director, CAST for Kids. Because of their support, and the caring and dedication of their employees, we were able to reach out to our wounded soldiers and give something back to these warriors who have given so much to us."

    The events could not have been a success if it weren’t for the many volunteers who supported the warriors and their families. The 53 boat captains were essential for getting the participants to the fishing areas and back. In addition 66 on-shore volunteers provided directions, served food and hosted activities for those not fishing.

    "To all of you and your families, this is a way we can say thank you, for all you have done and continue to do four our nation,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Byron C. Hepburn, commander, 59th Medical Wing, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas who spoke at the Canyon Lake event after he helped serve lunch.

    Canyon Lake Manager Marcus Schimank said it’s not imaginable what some of the wounded warriors and their families have to go through on a daily basis. “Giving them and their families a day of relaxation, fun and camaraderie with fellow warriors that can share their understanding is a great feeling and wonderful to be a part of.”

    At the end of both events, some caught catfish, some caught bass, some caught some rays of sun and some caught none. But all caught something to recall. As the son of one warrior so eloquently put it, “we may not have caught any fish today, but we will take home a lot of great memories.”



    Date Taken: 10.20.2012
    Date Posted: 10.23.2012 16:50
    Story ID: 96644
    Location: GRAPEVINE, TX, US 
    Hometown: CANYON, TX, US
    Hometown: DALLAS, TX, US
    Hometown: DENTON, TX, US
    Hometown: FORT WORTH, TX, US
    Hometown: NEW BRAUNFELS, TX, US
    Hometown: SAN ANTONIO, TX, US

    Web Views: 284
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    Wounded Warriors cast lines for fish, catch memories