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Fishing For Freedom

Posted by admin on November 14, 2010

The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) is now in its’ 7th year and our troops have served on multiple combat deployments. The stresses of combat and high operational tempo have strained our military and our military families to no end. We have seen and heard the stories of these heroes as many have returned home with horrific physical injuries, but a tremendous psychological toll is also being paid. Suicide rates are alarmingly high across the services even though several new Department of Defense initiatives have attempted to de-stigmatize mental health treatment in the military culture. There is more to be done, and we citizens back home free from their hardships can help these returning heroes deal with the baggage of combat and re-assimilate back into everyday life.

At the 2008 Leavenworth Veteran's Day parade, the local Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Henry Leavenworth Chapter's (HLC) announced an initiative called Helping Our Own At Home (HOOAH). The HOOAH initiative attempts to increase community awareness, individual involvement, and private sector participation by shining a consistent spotlight on the needs of Wounded Warriors and their families in Leavenworth and the surrounding counties in Kansas and Missouri. The goal of the HOOAH initiative is to tackle the most pressing, unmet needs of our wounded warriors, still serving veterans, and their families. This non-profit initiative has a goal of raising $100,000 in 2009 for this cause.

LBCLogo.jpgHearing the call to duty, the Leavenworth Bass Club, with assistance from the Kansas Bass Federation Nation (KBFN) and a network of bass anglers throughout the region, are planning an inaugural Fishing For Freedom event on 19 September at Harry S. Truman Reservoir. Inspired by the Army Bass Anglers, the Leavenworth Bass Club has begun organizing local bass clubs, local bass anglers, and fishing guides to take GWOT veterans and wounded warriors fishing. Outdoor recreational activities are extremely therapeutic by their very nature and recent examples have made a difference in our returning hero’s lives. Although angling is only one of those activities, it can help our returning warriors escape the hardships of combat deployments and begin the process of readjusting back to everyday life.

The Fishing For Freedom event is modeled from similar events that are occurring across the nation. It is a no fee event that pairs local anglers and fishing guides with our returning heroes in a buddy bass tournament format on a local fishery. The inaugural event will launch from Long Shoal Marina on 19 September 2009 at 7 A.M. with a weigh-in at 2 P.M. an awards presentation and a camaraderie building social with food and drinks will follow. With your support, there is a significant opportunity for this event to have a tremendous impact on our warriors and their families as they re-assimilate to life back home. Only the generosity of caring local and regional anglers and sponsors will make this event possible. We are in need of sponsorship help for trophies/plaques; tackle packs, food, and drinks. If you would like to get involved and volunteer as a boater or assist in anyway please contact Larry Stoafer at Lsto19@yahoo.com or 913-240-5254.

Additionally, the KBFN in conjunction with the Leavenworth Bass Club are in the initial stages of planning and hosting a HOOAH charity bass tournament in the fall of 2009. Although the location and date has not yet been selected, the tournament will be a buddy team format. The purpose of this event is to mobilize the regional tournament fishing community to raise funds for the HOOAH initiative and support their attempts to increase community awareness, individual involvement, and private sector participation by shining a consistent spotlight on the needs of Wounded Warriors and their Families in Leavenworth and the surrounding counties in Kansas and Missouri. These funds will allow HOOAH to tackle the most pressing, unmet needs of our wounded warriors, still serving veterans, and their families. If you are interested in sponsoring or volunteering to support HOOAH Charity Tournament, please contact Larry Stoafer at Lsto19@yahoo.com or 913-240-5254. Keep your eyes on the KBFN website for additional information as it develops.