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Warriors spend day reeling them in

After two consecutive years of half-day fishing events, a group of wounded warriors got to spend the whole day fishing on a recent Saturday.

Organizer Ron Curlings with the American Legion post in Caroline County said the participants for the last two years pleaded for more time. So, this year, they got to spend the entire day fishing at Mount Olympus Berry Farm in Ruther Glen.

The 21 wounded warriors had free rein over the farm’s three lakes to fish.

The veterans were from Culpeper, Orange, Spotsylvania, Stafford, King George and Caroline counties.

“We started the program because I saw the need,” Curlings said.

He wanted the veterans to know that people still cared about them, even long after they returned home from war.

“These men and women need help,” he said. “Fishing is very therapeutic. It’s an opportunity to get together and socialize with one another.”

The equipment was donated by a few local companies.

The event draws lots of volunteers, as well.

“They can tell you that they really get an interesting perspective,” Curlings said.

Each veteran had a volunteer paired up with him or her for fishing.

In addition to the fishing, the veterans and volunteers got a continental breakfast, lunch and barbecue dinner.

Not only were the veterans fishing for fun, they were competing for prizes, as well.

There were competitions for the largest bass and non-bass, the longest fish and the smallest fish.

  • Marine Corps veteran Gerald Williams caught a 32-inch, 17-pound catfish. He won the largest non-bass award of the day. That was the biggest fish caught over all three years of the event.
  • Marine Corps veteran Dan Duitsman caught a 22-inch bass, the largest of the day.
  • Navy veteran Frank Anaker caught the smallest fish of the day: a 6-inch crappie.
  • Marine Corps veteran Jason Joran caught the most fish of the day—13.

Each of the winners received meals for two at either Giuseppe’s or Timbers in Ladysmith.

Western Caroline District Supervisor Jeff Black was one of the volunteers and Bowling Green District Supervisor Jeff Sili went to the event and took photos.

Of the 21 veterans, there was just one woman. Her prize for the day was a spa treatment. Others took home door prizes they won from drawings throughout the day.

Several local organizations donated volunteers, time, monetary or food donations, as well.

“There was not a veteran there that did not have a good time,” Curlings said.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413