Take A Vet Fishing began in 2007 with just three events, seeking ways to engage and provide fellowship to veterans in Connecticut. The program has grown each year by filling an important need and by embracing the goodwill and caring spirit of Connecticut residents.
We’ve discovered that there are more ways to fill a man or woman’s heart with joy and peace than we ever imagined. We are surprised at every turn that what we set out to do has resonated with so many folks in so many communities, and has tapped a wellspring of compassion for our veterans struggling with challenges like blindness, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, alcohol & substance abuse, homelessness and physical limitations. Participants in our events, including the volunteers, have told and written us about what they’ve experienced using words like healing, peace, comfort, relaxation, excitement, challenge, pride, solitude, camaraderie, confidence building, belonging, freedom, family and discovery. Who knew that “going fishing” would present so many opportunities!
Take A Vet Fishing is the cornerstone program of the veterans’ outreach mission of the First Congregational Church of Branford, CT. It is self-funded by donor support and is staffed by volunteers from around the state. Based on the shore of Long Island Sound in the New Haven area, about 10 miles from the VA Connecticut Healthcare System West Haven Campus. Serving the Brownell House, CT D.A.V., CT Veterans Home Rocky Hill, Cosgrove Commons, Dinda House, Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center, Errera Community Care Center, Female Soldiers Forgotten Heroes, Fisher House, Harkness House, Homes for the Brave, the Next Step program, the Post-Traumatic Stress Residential Rehabilitation Program, Rockville Mansion, South Park Inn Homeless Shelter, VA Newington, and others.
Each event is a complete package free of charge. Veterans are provided transportation, equipment, food and beverages, easily accessible waterfront fishing and whatever level of assistance they might require. During the spring, summer, and fall, TAVF hosts a series of fishing outings at both salt and freshwater locations in CT. Each event is staffed by volunteers from across the state.
A variety of other activities are held as well, including trips to college football and basketball games, holiday parties and more.