In the early fall of 2014, a veteran posted on Facebook talking about how his ice fishing gear had become worn out due to the harsh elements of Minnesota winters.
This veteran posted on Facebook in hopes of finding a way to get back out on the ice that following winter to enjoy something that helped him relax.Within a couple of days of this veteran posting on Facebook a group of likeminded individuals had gathered some of their spare gear and sent it to this veteran so that he was could be back on the ice doing what he enjoyed.
This simple Facebook post, this simple story, is what created the starting point for Fishing with Vets.At the time these like-minded individuals knew one thing, and was that they wanted/needed to do something to help support our veteran community.
And so it started ...
By December of 2014 Fishing with Vets had been created.Fishing with Vets was officially incorporated, had social media pages, and was beginning the process to achieve it’s 501(C3) status.In the beginning things were run off of a very simple “open seat” concept. Essentially this open seat program that Fishing with Vets started was so that a veteran could join anyone that wanted to provide them the opportunity to get them out fishing.Shortly after the organization started finding open seats for veterans, professional guides started to take notice, and began volunteering their time to provide a veteran, plus one on a guided fishing trip.
As luck would have it ...
To the surprise of everyone, one of these guided trips ended up with two veterans who served in Vietnam together being able to reconnect and go fishing together.These two veterans had not seen one another in over 40 years and everyone realized just how much of a positive impact the organization was having on our veterans.After realizing how much of an impact they could have, the organization decided to take steps to expand, and began planning their first weekend long event on Lake of the Woods. As the planning steps progressed for their first weekend trip, donors started reaching out to provide funding, bait, food, etc.The first full event/trip put on by the organization provided 16 veterans a weekend of fun, fishing, relaxation, and most importantly camaraderie.Our Lake of the Woods trip is now on its sixth year in 2021 and we will have 30 veterans that will be attending this event.
How it's going ...
The mission of Fishing with Vets has taken our organization to many lakes with premiere fishing opportunities around the upper Midwest.As we have grown in our operations the list of lakes and states that we have held events on has continued to expand.Over the past few years, the organization has done trips in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.Fishing with Vets has and will continue to provide lodging, food, beverages, and bait for all the veterans attending our events.
As we near the end of the 2021 calendar year, Fishing with Vets has now been able to get over 700 veterans out fishing through our events.We are greatly indebted to all those that have guided and volunteered to help in the success of our organization.Every donor and volunteer play a key role in the success of Fishing with Vets as they are truly the back bone of this organization.