Ronald R. DeFreitas
Founder & Chief Financial Officer
Originally from Massachusetts, Ron moved with his family to the Northern Virginia area in 1992, due to a job relocation. He has been employed in the Information Technology Field most of his working career, holding positions as a System Engineer, Director of Information Technology and System Administration. He works full-time for Prince William County Public Schools Information Technology Center. Ron is a devoted husband and father of two grown children and a 6 year-old grandson, and two granddaughters, 2 years old and a 4 1/2 months old all of whom he adores and loves to spend time with. He enjoys spending his free time with his family, bass fishing and working on the Reel American Heroes Foundation business and events, most days spending an average of six hours on foundation work.
Ron is the Founder and Executive Director of the Reel American Heroes Foundation, a 501(c)(3) Non-profit, All Volunteer Organization, founded in 2010 for the purpose of thanking our Wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Disabled Veterans for the sacrifices they have made to protect our country and our freedom.
Ron had always enjoyed the outdoors, camping with his wife and children and fishing with his Grandpa Reeves during his youth. It was a Father’s Day gift he received several years ago from his son Jason, a rod and reel combo, that re-kindled his love for fishing, particularly bass fishing. He and his son soon became obsessed with bass fishing and planned many fishing trips together, both often commenting on the relaxation and serenity of being out near the water with a fishing pole in hand. They both soon joined fishing forums and developed friendships with other fishing enthusiasts. It was on these fishing forums that Ron was contacted by a soldier serving in Afghanistan who told him how much he missed bass fishing. A first care package containing bass magazines, DVD’s with hours of fishing shows and candy/food items was quickly assembled and soon on it’s way to this soldier. Soon, a few more requests came in from a few more soldiers and a few more packages went out.
For a couple of years, Ron assisted at small-scale fishing events for Wounded Warriors and Veterans. He immediately realized how good it felt to just be in the midst of these heroes and their families and volunteers who were only giving some of their time to honor such deserving heroes. Over the years, Ron’s daughter Ashley volunteered her time to so many and Ron figured that fishing was his way of giving back to these Warriors in the hopes that the serenity and relaxation would help them with a break from their pain and treatments. To these events, he brought the soldiers Rage Tail Baits which had been donated by Steve Parks, the Designer and Owner of Rage Tail and, a good friend whom had often offered to help with anything Ron was attempting to do for these Wounded Warrior and Veterans.
Ron had the honor and privilege of spending time with a very special soldier whom he credits with changing his outlook on life forever. His old outlook on material wants and things became replaced with “I am so grateful for all I have” and from this point forward, his mission was to figure out a way to organize fishing events for as many Wounded Warriors and Veterans as was possible and also give them a minimum of a fishing pole and fully-stocked tackle box to keep so that they could enjoy the therapeutic benefits and relaxation that fishing brings. The only way to accomplish this was to form a non-profit to be able to legally fundraise money for fishing gear to give the soldiers, money needed to run the fishing events, provide them meals and awards and also approach businesses for donations. The Reel American Heroes Foundation, a Non-Profit 501(c)(3), was founded and has been embraced by Proud Supporters and donors, especially the kind and generous friends in the fishing industry.
Ron spends many hours working on the Reel American Heroes Foundation business and many hours fundraising and gathering “Proud Supporters” so he can provide awards, gifts and fishing gear for the Wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that attend the events. With the help of family, friends, generous Proud Supporters and foundation volunteers, he hopes to continue to provide them with much needed recreational therapy that fishing provides.