Volunteers Give Vets A Day On The Water

 

Volunteers Give Vets A Day On The Water

The Freedom Waters Foundation wants to hook veterans on a fun fishy day. That’s why they plan to take veterans on a free fishing trip in Southwest Florida.

B9318014371Z.1_20150710184612_000_GMVBA0889.1-0Two private boat captains and eight additional boats provided by Freedom Boat Club will leave the Naples Boat Club on July 18 for about four hours of fishing in the Gulf or back bays.

“Like all of our boat trips, we provide an on-the-water experience that lets them leave their worries behind and get the therapeutic effects of being on the water,” said Debra Frenkel, executive director of the Freedom Waters Foundation. “It lets them relax. It lets them connect with civilians and feel safe with them. It gives them the opportunity to do something different, and have camaraderie with fellow veterans and civilians.”

The event is part of Weller Day boat outings for those with special needs and for veterans. Freedom Waters Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of individuals with special needs and veterans by providing therapeutic marine-related experiences on the waters of South Florida.

Bob Bodemann, a Vietnam veteran, has been on the Freedom Waters Foundation trips before and plans to attend the one this month.

“It shows the dedication people have to veterans,” Bodemann began. “It is a wonderful thing for veterans. It shows the public really cares for the veterans.”

Bodemann said it is also a good opportunity for veterans to get out on the water, socialize and have a good time.

“For the veterans it is fantastic,” he said. “You are out on the water. This really helps them to get away. They enjoy themselves. They are not going out with strangers. They are going out with other veterans. Whether you catch any fish doesn’t have anything to do with it. You are just having fun.”

All the fishing gear is included and so is lunch. Frenkel hopes to have at least 30 veterans go fishing.

Jim Kalvin is a private boat owner who will take some of the vets fishing July 18.

“I certainly appreciate what these guys do,” Kalvin said. “If there is anything I can do to help them out I want to do it.”

Last year Kalvin said the veterans on his vessel caught snapper and ladyfish. This year he hopes the weather will be better so he can take the veterans offshore to the artificial reef on his 22-foot center console boat.

“Last year I did it, and I will not miss another one,” Kalvin added.

Dustin Tidwell, the membership executive for the Freedom Boat Club, is donating eight boats for the event.

“We like to do charity events whenever we can,” Tidwell said. “Whether it is taking kids out or veterans. Freedom Waters Foundation is an awesome society. When Freedom Waters wants to do an event our members love volunteering their time and driving the boats. We love helping out.”

Tidwell said he is offering a variety of vessels from offshore boats to big long pontoons that can accommodate veterans in wheelchairs.

“We think it’s important,” Tidwell added. “Veterans Day is not once a year. It is whenever you get a chance.”

If you go

What: Veterans Fishing outing

Where: Boats leave from the Naples Boat Club

When: July 18, 7:30 a.m.

Cost: Free

Info: Veterans who want to sign up should call 248-1120 or email info@freedomwatersfoundation.org

Andrea Stetson

Volunteers Give Vets A Day On The Water

Click here to view the original article

 

Back to The News Room