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Ken Perrotte’s Outdoors Column: Foundation finds wetting a line great therapy for warriors

Bass fishing enthusiasts from as far away as Texas and New Hampshire converged on Stafford County’s Hope Springs Marina on Saturday to support wounded warriors and disabled veterans during the second annual Reel American Heroes Foundation tournament.

Among the many 49 angling pros taking service members fishing were Teddy Carr and Christie Bradley, both Geico Powersports’ team anglers and volunteer guides for winners of our annual “Take Dad Fishing for Father’s Day” contest.

Ronald R. DeFreitas, foundation executive director, coordinated the tournament. Wounded warriors from Walter Reed hospital, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Fort Belvoir and more enjoyed a day of fishing, food and fun.

Bob Critcher, who coordinates activities for Quantico’s wounded Marines, called the event, “a down-home, really interactive type of tournament.”

Dale City resident DeFreitas said his foundation is different from many nonprofits that raise money for causes associated with wounded military or disabled veterans. “All the money raised goes back into the programs benefiting these wounded warriors. No one receives any salary or other type of payment,” he explained.

“The concept is to provide recreational therapy by way of taking them fishing,” DeFreitas said. His experience helping a local bass club with a wounded warrior event provided his spark.

“Once you do this and see the impact it has on these wounded warriors, it makes you want to keep coming back. When I started doing it four years ago, it changed my life,” DeFreitas said.

TRAVELSTEAD HEADS VMRC

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Jack G. Travelstead as commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission last week, succeeding Steven G. Bowman, who retired in March.

Travelstead has served with the VMRC since 1981. He was chief of the Fisheries Management Division from 1984 to 2006, when he became deputy commissioner.

He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Old Dominion University and a master’s in marine science from the College of William and Mary.

The commission manages recreational and commercial saltwater fishing, tidal waters and water bottoms.

CONTEST DEADLINE NEARS

Entries in the 14th annual “Take Dad Fishing for Father’s Day” contest are surprisingly slow this year, but nearly a dozen thoughtful youngsters are going to win a guided fishing trip for themselves and their fathers—or a grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, mom or anyone else who fills that special role.

You can’t win if you don’t enter. Deadline for entries to be postmarked is May 19. Children need to write, by hand and on their own, why their special person deserves a fishing trip with them.

There are two age categories: 6 to 9 and 10 to 13. Include name, age, phone number and address on the letter so we can notify you if you’re a winner.

Winners will be selected for several trips, including an afternoon outing on the Chesapeake Bay and other fishing expeditions on regional waters.

Send entries, postmarked no later than May 15, to: Perrotte–Fishing Contest, Box 1069, King George, Va. 22485. Winners will be notified by phone by May 26.

MULTI-BEARD BIRD

Reader Chris Thomas of Fredericksburg shared recently that he is among the lucky hunters who tagged a tom turkey sporting multiple beards. He took the four-bearded gobbler in King George County. The turkey weighed 20.5 pounds and had 1-inch spurs.

Congratulations, Chris!

Ken Perrotte can be reached at The Free Lance–Star, 616 Amelia Street, Fredericksburg, Va. 22401, by fax at 373-8455 or email at outdoors@freelancestar.com.

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