By Thomas Grant Jr.
Every year, wounded soldiers from all across the Southeast may enjoy a fun-filled day at no cost thanks to the Troop Appreciation Fishing Derby.
The rescheduled 11th annual Fishing Derby was held Aug. 10 at the Lake Murray Sailing Cub. Sponsored by Dominion Energy and the Wounded Warrior Project, over 60 veterans took part thanks to the work of the Troop Appreciation Foundation.
Some of the veterans arrived as early as 5 a.m. to get an early batch of striped bass fish. A total of 40 shoreline volunteers and 20 local fishing guides helped with the filleting.
Upon obtaining their haul, the veterans returned to shore to have it weighed as part of the contest for the top five largest fish. A total of 281 fish were reportedly caught with the biggest fish weighing eight pounds and seven ounces.
The Troop Appreciation Fishing Derby was started in 2012 by Capt. Mike Glover, a Lake Murray fishing guide, while on a guided fishing trip with Army officers asked a simple question:
“If I could get some friends to donate a day of service taking troops fishing could you get soldiers to go?”
The answer was a resounding YES! As a result, 15 boats outfitted by local fishermen took 43 troops on what turned out to be the first annual fishing trip.
The Troop Appreciation Foundation would like to thank all the Sponsors, Boat Captains & Volunteers that participated in the Fishing Derby for Wounded Warriors yesterday. A special thank you goes to the Lake Murray Sailing Club which hosted the event at their facility.
Sixty (60) Wounded Warriors fished in the derby – 281 fish were caught & filleted for the Warriors. The biggest fish weighed in at 8 lbs 7 oz.
Prizes totaling $12-13,000 were awarded to the soldiers thanks to donations from people like Terry Bishop of Bishop Real Estate Group. This included an 18-can Yeti Hopper Flip & Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Turkey Fryer.
The event was originally scheduled for June 22 but was pushed back due to bad weather.
“That’s all it’s about is having a good time,” Joe Beemer told local media. “Having a good time and being away from everything, you’re really not focusing on the issue, you’re just doing it. You don’t have to worry about it, you’re having a good time.”