Outdoor Adventure Conservation Fund and Team Red, White and Blue Dish Up Special Adventure for Military Vets on Veteran’s Day
Miami, FL -(AmmoLand.com)- Fourteen deserving veterans enjoyed a full day of successful fishing out of Miami Beach Marina, thanks to a Veteran’s Day event organized by the Florida-based Outdoor Adventure Conservation Fund (OACF), the Team Red, White and Blue (TRWB) organization, and five Miami-based charter boat captains and businesses that stepped up to thank the vets for their patriotism and service.
Both the weather and the fish cooperated like they were part of the organizing team. OACF (www.oacfund.org –under construction) is a non-profit that works to get more people outdoors participating in traditional outdoor activities. TRWB’s (www.teamrwb.org) mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
Veterans enjoying the trip included; Daytona area vets—Joseph Fink, Izzy George, John and Jasmine Flood, Max Rameriz, Todd and Kimberly Rohr-who were also joined by their son, Bryce who celebrated his 17th birthday on the trip, Joseph Rahl, and Patrick Zeigler. Orlando area vets on the trip included Jennifer Cook, Brian Fey and Trevor Hoffman, David Restrepo from Miami and Capt. Russ Rivers from Melbourne completed the crew.
Making certain the veterans have a great experience is the ultimate goal of the event. This year’s event produced lots of comradery, smiles, joking, networking, new friends and simple enjoyment of the outdoors—along with some healthy ribbing—and some good fishing. Combined, the vets caught 4 sailfish, about 50 dolphin fish, one African—estimated at 30 pounds, 2 kingfish and 4 bonito.
“I can’t say enough about the boat captains and owners who are the difference-makers for our event,” said OACF president, Chris Chaffin of Melbourne Beach, FL, “These Miami-based captains and boat owners volunteered everything needed to host the vets for some fantastic fishing and a wonderful experience. What a great group guys…real pros who know their fishing and, even more importantly, have big hearts and obviously care about our troops.”
Garrett Cathcart, TRWB Southeast Regional Director said, “The cornerstone of the Team Red, White & Blue mission is to enrich veterans’ lives. We define enrichment as creating quality relationships and experiences that contribute to life satisfaction and overall wellbeing. This experience certainly has helped to build some relationships!”
South Florida fishing legend, Mark Sosin is an OACF Board member and he made the initial contact and posed the idea of a veterans fishing event with his long-time friend, Capt. Randolph “Bouncer” Smith (http://www.captbouncer.com Smith immediately said yes in 2014 and for the second year in a row recruited other Captains to take the vets fishing. Captains Bouncer, Alex Castellano ([email protected]) and Michael Lawson/Quinton Dieterle (http://www.miamicharterfishing.com/boat.htm; www.cuttingedgefishing.com) were returning volunteers for this year’s event. New captains and boats included The Dirty Nest with Capt. Matt Tambor ([email protected]) and the Miss Brit/Capt. Ray Rosher (305-788-3474.)
Also providing personal assistance for the vets were the captain’s mates: Ryan Alexander, Brett Graves, Abie Raymond, Sam Alsop and Alex Meyer.
All the boat owners, captains and mates volunteered their time, boats, equipment, the bait and their expertise to make the veteran’s day a bucket list kind of day. Captain Bouncer said there were five more captains waiting to see if more boats were needed.
“When I ask for boats to volunteer, everyone one jumps to participate. We all feel honored to give back to the best Americans. I was raised to respect military members with the highest regard. We all benefit from the sacrifices of these men and women every day. It is an honor to make their lives better, even if only for a few hours.”
Capt. Bouncer’s sister, Sue Singer, made lunches for the anglers to eat while they fished with food donated entirely by Miami Beach Publix Store (1100 6th St., Miami Beach, FL 33139; 305.535.2212) and Manager Andrew Lions.
Matt Johnson, of Monty’s Sunset Restaurant (www.montyssobe.com) readily agreed, when Capt. Bouncer asked, to host the veterans to a fish fry immediately following their return to the dock, taking only enough time to clean the fish they caught and cook it to perfection. The Hampton Inn Coconut Grove/Coral Gables Hotel also contributed to the event.
Todd, Kimberly and Bryce Rohr summed up the veteran’s experience in the OACF fishing event.
“It was an awesome day, we caught big fish-pompano, dolphin, mackerel, sailfish and sharks. The captains were very talented, if there were fish out there, they found them.”
Their son, Bryce, said it was a great day. He caught the big African Pompano, which he said “took a while to get in.” Happy birthday, Bryce.
Two vets chose to just hang out with their friends and peers. Izzy George said the trip was “…pretty awesome. I just caught some sun, had a good time getting a tan.” Trevor Hoffman reported that he “…just wanted to hang out and I had a good time doing it.”
Capt. Russ Rivers, a Navy veteran and an experienced fisherman and guide, indicated the group had a great day.
“We enjoyed ourselves immensely. All the vets had a great time down here in Miami. We had one vet who caught his first sailfish, and the thrill that was going through him was incredible, he was as happy as could be.” That veteran, Patrick Zeigler, said “I’ll take that title” when told he was the 2015 OACF Miami Veterans Day Sailfish King.
Chaffin noted and expressed sincere gratitude to another Florida-based company, The Dream Giveaway Group, Tampa, and their Outdoor Adventure Dream Giveaway Sweepstakes program (www.outdoorgiveaway.com) helped create the OACF and have fully funded it to this point.
“Without all these terrific partners, who stepped up to show they care about our wounded and injured troops,” Chaffin summarized, “we would not have been able to get these guys and gals out fishing. This event lets them know there are people who care about them, the sacrifices they’ve made and the challenges they face every day because of their service to us.”
“We thank our partners…and we really thank our vets. The smiles on their faces during the whole event and their excited ‘fish stories’ was the final…winning…report card,” Chaffin concluded.
Anyone interested in helping veterans and others connect with the outdoors through the Outdoor Adventure Conservation Fund can contact Chris Chaffin at [email protected] or (321) 729-0280.
About Team Red, White and Blue:
Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
The Outdoor Adventure Conservation Fund:
The Outdoor Adventure Conservation Fund (OACF) connects people with the outdoors and encourages their active participation through hunting, fishing, shooting, camping, hiking and other traditional outdoor activities and pursuits. OACF provides grants that support events, programs, activities and other efforts by like-minded groups, organizations, agencies, companies and other entities that create and conduct such activities in a safe, positive environment and, overall, seek to develop a caring conservation ethic for the outdoors. OACF is the proud sponsor of the Miami Veterans Day Fishing event, started in 2014.
For more information, visit: www.oacfund.org.