Ken Perrotte’s Outdoor 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.