Annual “Maurice Cares” luncheon honors our nation’s wounded warriors and veterans
Northbrook, Ill. (Ammoland.com) Maurice Sporting Goods’ donated $20,000 to veterans’ charity Heroes on the Water, and in the process sparked an industry-wide support effort which resulted in the donation of large amounts of fishing gear and other equipment by major outdoor manufacturers.
At the annual Maurice Cares luncheon, which is attended by dozens of outdoor industry manufacturers, Maurice Sporting Goods CEO and President Jory Katlin presented a check for $20,000 to Jim Dolan, President and founder of Heroes on the Water, and Staff Sergeant Oliver (Ollie) Hughes, who was wounded in action in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan in 2011 and is now the coordinator for the Raleigh, North Carolina based chapter.
During the luncheon, SSgt. Hughes gave a moving account of his own experience during the war and how as a participant in the Heroes on the Water program, he found the healing effects of simply paddling and fishing from a kayak to be extremely therapeutic. As a participant, Ollie saw first-hand how Heroes on the Water gave veterans the opportunity to relax and share the camaraderie of others, while revitalizing their physical and mental health. He then committed himself to a leadership role in the organization, and has worked hard to ensure veterans in the North Carolina and Virginia area can participate in Heroes on the Water activities as part of their therapy and recovery programs.
Ollie’s speech held the audience of Maurice Sporting Goods associates and representatives of over 60 manufacturers spellbound. After Ollie’s speech, many of the manufacturers, in a show of industry unity and support, pledged to support Heroes on the Water. Different companies donated fishing tackle and accessories, kayak equipment, and other outdoor gear ranging from insect repellant to ready-to-eat meals. Key companies in the outdoor industry, including Pure Fishing, Shimano, Lucky Bug, Bullet Weights, Fierce / McMillan, Bug Band, Backpacker’s Pantry, American Maple, Pautzke, Thermacell, Len Thompson and Western Filament, all donated significant amounts of product to support Heroes on the Water—enough to provide a significant boost to the organization as it heads into fishing season in 2015.
“We couldn’t be more proud to lead this effort to support Heroes on the Water,” Katlin commented. “It shows how much we and our vendors support our country’s wounded warriors beyond handshakes and thank-you’s. We want to honor their sacrifices, support their recovery from battlefield injuries, and help them return to their families healthy and happy. We’ve always known that fishing is an activity that gives people so much, but Heroes on the Water has taken this to a whole new level. They are using the positive experience of fishing and kayaking to help heal battlefield injuries, and give back to those men and women who have sacrificed so much to allow us to enjoy our freedom in our great country.”
The donated fishing and kayaking gear will be distributed to each of the 35 Heroes on the Water chapters across the country during their National Chapter meeting in March of 2015. The product will be given to each chapter depending on the type of fishing in the area, as well as the veterans participating. By the start of fishing season, all of the donated gear will be in the hands of Heroes on the Water participants, ready to enjoy a great season of friendship, healing and fishing!
During the luncheon, the Maurice Cares organization also announced the donation of $10,000 to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and $10,000 to the Children’s Home + Aid (a leading children’s charity in Illinois).
To find out more about Heroes on the Water and the success the organization has had in helping veterans heal through kayak fishing, please visit www.heroesonthewater.org.
About Maurice Sporting Goods, Inc.:
Maurice Sporting Goods, Inc. was founded in 1923 by Maurice Olshansky as a sporting goods outlet in downtown Chicago. In the 92 years following the first store, Maurice has establishing itself as a leader in retail services, product development, distribution, marketing, and technology. With over 1,200 vendor partnerships, Maurice Sporting Goods has become North America’s largest distributor of fishing, hunting, camping, marine accessories, fitness, and sports licensing & gift products. Today, Maurice Sporting Goods supports a broad array of the strongest mass merchandisers and independent dealers in the retail industry—a network of over 10,000 storefronts.
About Maurice Cares:
The Maurice Cares program, established in 2008, is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization that has raised money for a variety of causes, from helping military families to helping fund childhood disease research to cleaning up local parks and recreation areas. Each year, to fulfill the company’s goal of making a difference for the communities in which its associates live and work, Maurice Sporting Goods employees choose several causes to support through donations and volunteering their time—and the positive impact these programs have achieved has grown every year.
About Heroes on the Water:
Heroes on the Water helps our nation’s warriors and veterans from all branches of the United States military by employing the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks. What looks like a day trip of paddling and fishing is in fact something much deeper and long-lasting. Founded in 2007, Heroes on the Water’s unique kayak fishing program allows the participants a chance to decompress from the stresses associated with combat and the physical rigors of rehabilitation. Warriors enjoy these benefits while on guided fishing trips held in local communities around the country.