The 3rd Annual Trolling for the Troops event held June 6-7 was a huge success. Veterans and some of Minnesota’s best anglers spent a day on the water enjoying one of this state’s consummate pastimes – fishing.
The event kicked off June 6 at Camp Ripley, Minn. with a welcome, meet and greet and a wonderful steak dinner for all participants. Trolling for the Troops pairs disabled Veterans and recently deployed soldiers with some of the best anglers in the Midwest for a day of fishing on Mille Lacs or the Mississippi River.
In attendance were 25 Veterans and 28 soldiers ranging from WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq War, all the way to the Afghanistan War. A total of 30 professional anglers and guides participated this year by volunteering their time, expertise and the equipment to take Veterans out on the water. Among the oldest in attendance was 92 year old WWII and Korean War Veteran Clint Fladland, who had a great time out on the water.
The anglers who participated all agreed that our heroes who served our country with pride deserve a day on the lake fishing and for these pros it was an opportunity to say thank you and give back a little. Dennis Erie, Voluntary Service Specialist with the St. Cloud VA Health Care System put it best when he said, “Everyone is here to honor you,” and that is exactly what they did.
As Minnesotan’s, many of us share the common bond of fishing and hunting, and for many service members it’s the sounds, the smells and the memories of the great outdoors that bring them back to Minnesota when they’re away serving their country. This event not only connected our state’s heroes with the best fishermen, it provided a therapeutic environment to heal in the outdoors. It is after all because of the sacrifices of our service members and Veterans that we are able to do the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors, such as fishing.
Veterans and guides spent the next day chasing down small mouth bass, and walleye on Mille Lacs Lake and mostly small mouth bass up and down the Mississippi River. The fishing was great, every pro or guide got their Veteran on fish, and lots of them.
“The event is a great opportunity to go fishing and visit with other Veterans who love to fish as much as one another. A lot of big names show up and it’s never a dull time. There’s always fish to be caught,” said Andrew Hanson, Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran.
Financial sponsors for the event included the American Legion Department of Minnesota, Veterans for Veterans (V4V), Department of Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota (DAV MN). Additional sponsors included American Food Group, Lindner's Angling Edge, and the Upper Mississippi River Smallie Club (UMRSC). The Mills family with Mills Fleet Farm was in attendance to show their support for Veterans.
Next year the event organizers hope to get even more Veterans involved and get the boats and guides needed for another successful event. All in all some great memories were made at the 2013 Trolling for the Troops event. Photos from this great event are now available to view at our Flickr page .
Professional Anglers and Guides included:
Jimmy Bell, Scott Bonnema, Kevin Kerkvliet, Col. Scott St. Sauver, Mark Courts , Chris Kudik, Ross Grothe, Gary McNeely, Kevin McQuoid, Hank Sadler, Dave Anderson, CSM Mike Wordan, Gary Roach, SSG Tim Krouth, Tom Whitehead, Jay Brezinka, Scott Steil, Eric Altena, John Mickish, Keith Hinkemeyer, Janet Tharp, Mike Johnson, George Liddle, Guy Scott, Chip Leer, Kirk Grupa, Al Lindner, James Lindner, Todd Severnak, Christopher Woodruff, Maj. John Barr, Dave Genz, Mike Hener, Richard Fisher, Jason Przekurat, Andrew Frette, Jeremy Smith, Steven Knutson, Ryan DeChaine, and Steve Holbrook.