For many of you that know any of the Squad know that the majority of us are either veterans, reservists, or still active duty. For those that aren't, they are HUGE supporters of our veterans. I had the privilege of last year getting affiliated with the Southeast chapter of Heroes on the water. In what started with just something to volunteer my time to help a few guys get out on the water turned into a passion for me and my family.
This year has been no different. My son, Lukas, has been with me to most of the events since late last year. This months event I had the chance to take out my wife to share this experience with. WE HAD A BLAST! When we got int he truck to go home, she turned to me and said "WOW! That was amazing I was able to be apart of that!"
This months event took place in Chef Menteurs pass which is an incredible fishery year around. Its a spot I thoroughly enjoy hitting because it so close and all the species available. My wife and I were running a few minutes behind but were able to make it in time for the safety brief, help get everyone launched and get our group of 3 vets which turned out to add another 4 vets and my good friend Mike Gamble. After we got everyone situated and comfortable in their kayaks, off we went. With a few guys having never fished much and most have never really fished salt water much, it was a very successful trip! The day started out in our group with me catching a pretty small large mouth that was followed with one of our vets hooking up to a really nice 19.25" redfish! It took a little while longer before another hook up. One thing that is awesome about Chef Pass is the variety of species! Another largemouth is on.
At around 1115, it was about time to get everyone rounded up and headed over to the launch. A quick paddle across the pass we meet up with Paul Tullier and the group he has in his boat (I know, Kayak fishing only right?) and they let us know that one of our frequent vets, Jason Kahl, absolutely killed it! Jason hauled in 3 flounder and another really nice slot red! Man were they excited! As soon as we got back to the launch we could smell the amazing BBQ they had almost ready, heard all the laughs from everyone involved, and all the animated stories from everyone that made it out on the water!
All in all these events aren't about fishing. They are not about kayaking. They are about giving back. Giving these guys an escape. Helping them ease their minds from the hazards of combat. Not every vet has visible wounds. So many men and woman come back injured but most people would never even know. The invisible wounds are the ones that torment them the most. Our nations military are warriors. That alone gives them a strength most would never understand or be able to comprehend. But its those invisible wounds that hurt the most. These events we are lucky enough to be apart of does so much for them. I am just thankful they allow me to be apart of it and share their time on the water doing what I love the most!