All across the world right now,the great men and women of the United State military are defending our freedoms. However, military life eventually ends for those men and women who return home to become ordinary citizens again and that transition can be a tough one. For the fourth year in a row, an event has been held to help these warriors have a weekend of peace, fun, and healing. That event is the Take a Warrior fishing tournament at Highland Marina.
The 4th annual Take a Warrior Fishing Tournament is sponsored by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Wounded Warrior Project. It sees local fishermen partner up with military veterans for a fun day on the water with fishing poles in hand. Fishers and veterans from all around show up to the event each and every year. There are biggest and smallest fish contests, free BBQ lunch, and many other things in between. Troup County News sat down with some of these veterans to get their thoughts on the event and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Jeanie Cauhen is a veteran who started in 2006 and medically retired in 2015. She was a seventy bravo, a term for a medical service officer. “I have been deployed to Iraq and then to Croatia for three weeks.” Jeanie knows how important events like Take a Warrior Fishing can be. “I was having issues and [after some people got me involved], I got involved with this three years ago. I started helping more this year. This brings all of these veterans together. Sometimes you get away and you don’t see them and it sort of brings back [bad memories]… and if you have a bad experience like I had, you can meet new people or something is on [someone’s] mind, you can help them out. I appreciate that they are doing this and hope they do this for many more years.
Ricky Ball is also a veteran, one who spent twenty years in the army with several deployments under his belt as a civilian contractor and a solider as well. He has been on a combined six trips over seas between Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Egypt. He also values such a program as the Wounded Warrior Project. “I came on board with the Wounded Warrior Project about three years ago. It was one of those things I was passionate about. It was a program that I identified that was definitely doing more than I had experienced at the time. When I saw a job opportunity to come on board, I took that opportunity. I don’t just do this as a job. It actually helps me as well.”
Cassidy Blood, a surgeon in the military, who just returned from Iraq with an injury. “[The injury] brought me to WTB, which was warrior transition at the time. I came out today for my first event hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project, which is awesome. It has been an amazing experience. This is absolutely amazing. It’s like the perfect [form] of recovery for many emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually. It’s just coming together, meeting new, diverse people from all over and being in the same realm of life.”