Back to Focus

Take A Warrior Fishing reels in life-long memories

Local boaters host military families on the water

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Four years ago, an idea was born between family members (who wish to remain nameless) to plan an event as a way to give back to local Soldiers. That idea evolved and blossomed into the Take a Warrior Fishing event, held July 14 at Russell Landing at American Lake on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Sponsored by the Evergreen Bass Club of Tacoma, the event saw more than 35 boats from several different fishing clubs (some from as far as five hours away) take to the lake's calm waters for a day of family fun.

Volunteers brought in their boats to take Soldiers and their families out on the lake for a day of fishing. Knowing how to fish prior to the event was not required, as the event was centered on giving back to the military community and providing an opportunity for families to be together. Take a Warrior Fishing hats, T-shirts, fishing rods and tackle boxes were provided by C.A.S.T. for Kids of Renton.

The event began at 6 a.m. with a hot, catered breakfast as Soldiers and their families arrived and registered. About an hour later, participants were loaded into boats and brought out onto American Lake with only one requirement: to have fun.

"I think it is very sweet of these people to donate their time, energy, and resources for our guys," said Taher Christensen, who attended with her husband, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldier Wade Christensen.

The couple was paired with Evergreen Bass Club president Willy Parsons.

"Today has been great," Parsons said. "This is a very small way for us to be able to say thanks."

For many participants, the day was humbling. Most could not put into words the amount of appreciation they felt in having an event like this created for them.

"I am very overwhelmed. I've been retired for 25 years and never had this type of gratitude shown until now," said retired Sgt. Richard Vreeland.

James McMillion of the 555th Engineer Brigade brought his four children, Elijah, Jaden, Mariah and Sydney, with him to the event. Between them, they caught several fish, but more important to McMillion was seeing the smiles and hearing the laughs of a family having a wonderful time.

"This means a lot," he said. "I cannot put into words how much it means."

He also appreciated his host, John Walech of Banks Lake Bass Club.

"He's volunteering his time away from his family to be here for us," McMillion said. "Not everyone does that. It shows you there are good people in this world."

Around noon, boaters brought the Soldiers and their families back to Russell Landing to enjoy a barbeque lunch provided by the Kiwanis Club of Steilacoom. Participants were given raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes donated by members of the various fishing clubs.

During the lunch, families were able to visit with and receive autographs from three Seattle Seahawks players, including Clinton McDonald.

"My father was in the Air Force, and it's great being able to give back to the guys who put their lives on the line and serve our country," McDonald said. "What they do for us is on a much bigger scale."

As the day wound down and the raffle prizes were handed out, organizers of the event were overwhelmed with the gratitude from the Soldiers and their families. Many Soldiers waited patiently for their turn to shake the hands of the organizers and thank them for a fun-filled day. The main goal of the event was to provide a day of fun for Soldiers and their families, but it went far beyond that. It was a day of wonderful memories that those families will take with them wherever they go.

Comments for "Take A Warrior Fishing reels in life-long memories "

Comments for this article are currently closed.