Baudette, MN (August 18, 2016) Lake of the Woods Tourism announces the third annual “Pay It Forward” veteran’s event set for August 25-28, 2016. Pay It Forward is a 3 night / 2 day fishing extravaganza bringing 60 injured and disabled veterans to Lake of the Woods to honor, recognize and celebrate their efforts and sacrifices.
Veterans will enjoy The Walleye Capital of the World complimentary in comfort and style for three nights and two full days of walleye fishing aboard one of 15 charter boats with licensed charter captains all donated by area resorts. All lodging, fishing, meals, entertainment and incidentals are donated or funded through donations.
“This year we are partnering with two very quality organizations,” explains Joe Henry, Executive Director of Tourism for Lake of the Woods. “Fishing for Life is an organization that serves kids, families and communities through fishing and outdoor programs. They do a tremendous amount with and for veterans and have a number of veterans on their volunteer team. They are excellent and really help the event through their connections, understanding of veteran challenges and commitment to helping veterans heal.”
“The other partner this year is the Wounded Warrior Project. WWP serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001. Many of our participants this year are WWP veterans. Again, working with a quality organization with access, understanding and a commitment to veterans makes our event and mission even stronger.”
Pay It Forward purposefully seeks variety in its participants. Veterans this year will consist of men and women from a variety of branches of military who participated in varying conflicts and range in age from young to old.
“When we first organized Pay It Forward, we created a wonderful fishing trip for the veterans as a thank you and a way to relax and heal. A nice fishing trip on a premier body of water is healing all by itself. We learned the largest benefit of this program is the opportunity for veterans to spend time with other veterans. This is where the healing takes place. Spending time with others who have had similar experiences and life challenges is nurturing and helps many to heal. Some of the successes from the past couple of years are absolutely life changing. It is so great to see and so worth it.”
During the Pay It Forward weekend, veterans are also exposed to resources, people and programs they may not be aware which can be valuable in day to day life.
Saturday night, Pay It Forward veterans are transported to the Lake of the Woods County Fairgrounds in Baudette for a walleye fish fry, special program and live music by the band Knight Lighters. The entire evening is open to the public.
Deven Schei, a WWP speaker and veteran who survived getting hit by four 80mm rockets, endured 17 surgeries and has a brother who was also injured in the war and is a paraplegic will share his story of hope and life outside the military.
Media contacts and interested sponsors contact Joe Henry, Executive Director of Lake of the Woods Tourism at 320-260-7727 or by email at [email protected].