Posts Tagged ‘Soldiers’

Fishing for Freedom boat in the parade.

2011 marks the tenth year of the “Global War on Terrorism (GWOT),” and the toll it has taken on our men and women in uniform has been immense. Multiple deployments in the different theaters of the war have left scars, both seen and unseen. Regardless of politics, we can all agree that our fighting forces have served their country selflessly and bravely, and we all can join together to thank our troops for their service.

The psychological toll of war is hard to measure for our nation’s veterans. One 2009 study from Stanford University suggests that up to 40% of returning soldiers will develop some symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Department of Defense and Veteran’s Administration both have initiated programs to help soldiers cope, and their plans both note the therapeutic effect of outdoor recreation.

It is in that spirit that for the first time in Quincy, a dedicated group of volunteers have banded together to create an event called “Fishing for Freedom.”  The event brings together bass anglers and veterans of the GWOT for a day of tournament bass fishing on the river.

Organizer Bob Havermale attended a similar event last fall in Warsaw, Mo., and said he was so moved by what it meant to our service personnel, that he decided to organize a similar event on the Quincy riverfront. “This is a weekend for our honoring our warriors who have served in the GWOT and wounded warriors,” Havermale explains. “Each boater donates his time and the expense of operating his boat for the event. It costs the warriors nothing.  We hope to have a positive impact and a fun day of fishing for people who have given our country so much. We also hope to make this an annual event, that gets bigger and better each year.”

The Fishing for Freedom event will begin Saturday, June 4, at the Oakley Lindsay Center.  There will be a banquet starting at 5 p.m., and tickets for the general public will be $20 each and can be purchased starting May 23 at the OLC Box Office. After the meal, there will be an auction to raise funds to pay for the event. No one working for the event is paid, and all funds will go to the operating costs. At 7:30 p.m., Longhorn, a comedian, will take the stage for a show.

The tournament day begins at the Quincy Boat Club for breakfast at 5 a.m. on Sunday, June 5. Weather permitting, at 7 a.m., there will be a fly-over of two F-15 fighter jets while the Star Spangled Banner is played and the fishing boats are launched. The Illinois Patriot Guard Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall will also be on display at Kessler park during the event. The fishermen will return to the Quincy Boat Club at 3 p.m. for the weigh-in and awards ceremony.

There are still many ways to get involved with the Fishing for Freedom event.  Boat sponsorships are available for $250, volunteers are still needed, and donations of prizes or auction items are very much appreciated. You can learn more about the event by going tohttp://www.fishingforfreedomquincy.org. The event also has a Facebook page that can be found atwww.tinyurl.com/FFQuincy.

Original Post May 3, 2011

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