In honor of Veterans Day, we wanted to share this story as well as our appreciation.
A group of 20 wounded veterans from the Kentucky-based 101st Airborne Division had the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, together with the community, in a recent fishing expedition on Wilson and Pickwick lakes in Alabama.
According to the Times Daily, the event, called Operation HOOAH, stands for Healing Outside Of an Army Hospital. Ron McDonald is the publisher and editor of Southern Fishing News, a HOOAH sponsor, and also served in the Vietnam War as part of the 101st.
“The purpose of this event is to not only get these soldiers out of the Army hospital for a couple of days of bass fishing, but to facilitate their mental healing as well,” McDonald told the Times Daily.
Equipment and guide service was volunteered by local anglers, and businesses donated hotel stays and other outdoor gear.
The event went to show the value of an outdoor experience on an individual going through a difficult time in their life. Hunting and fishing as rehab is a powerful idea.
“This helps get them back into life experiences,” McDonald said in the Times Daily story. “So many of them can reach a point where they think life’s over. They’re hospitalized. They’re sheltered. Fishing is a great tool to use for mental healing and for reintegration. At least half these soldiers have never fished before, so it’s a new experience.”