Take a Vet Fishing 2016, as see on Branford Community Television
Today we’re Cruisin’ Connecticut to the Branford shoreline with an organization bringing light to the lives of blind veterans.
The Branford Organization, Take A Vet Fishing, is saluting the troops by taking veterans with eye sight problems on a fishing trip.
Truth be told, there is no place many of us would rather be than on Roy’s Rock at Killam’s Point on the Long Island Sound. It’s not just a place, a spot on a rock where the fishing is good, but rather it’s a state of mind. It’s a place where time can stand still…where we’re surrounded by nature, with the wind in our faces, the water at our feet, and the sun melting away the worries and concerns of our day.
We’re never alone out there on that rock, even if we’re in that zone we call our “happy place.” Beyond the souls to our left or right are all the vets and volunteers who have made this place so special. They show up to go fishing together, enjoy a home-cooked meal, and help share the love…that’s what it’s all about at Take A Vet Fishing.
One day a man named Roy Jenkins showed up with a group from the VA’s Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center. Roy had fished all his life and had plans to do a lot more with his brother when they both retired in southern Virginia. But shortly after that day came, Roy lost his good vision, and his dream of spending a lot of time on the water suddenly evaporated. He was forced to sell his boat and had to give up his driver’s license.
As he told us later, he was in a bad way that day he came out fishing with us, but what happened next changed us all, especially Roy. We got to talking, and Roy got to fishing again. The sun came out for him and his joy returned. He was among friends doing what he loved, and there was no place that he would have rather been! Roy came back several times over the years and our friendship deepened as we stayed in touch. If you ask him today, he’ll tell you how some of his life’s best memories are of being out on that rock with people who care, and who helped him rekindle that spark.
“Take A Vet Fishing” – What it’s about – Images, letters, commentary – Gratitude to our volunteers and veterans. Speakers are: Mark Matthiessen, Mobility Instructor at the West Haven VA Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center; Bob Steers, Capt. U.S. Army Ret., Afghanistan veteran; Ted Aub, Adjutant, Marine Corps League and veterans advocate.
Jeff Buggee and Ray Luhn talk about Take a Vet Fishing on Classroom Connections with Jan Doyle.
Jeff Buggee and Jay Johnson discuss the “Take a Veteran Fishing” program on Good Morning Connecticut Sunday.
BCTV interviews TAVF on “In Touch with Branford”. Jeff Buggee and Ray Luhn explain the origins of Take a Vet Fishing, sharing stories about the organization’s mission of providing friendship and comfort to disabled Veterans and their staff by providing relaxing activities that get them out of the institutional setting. TAVF started in 2007 at the First Congregational Church of Branford and has received broad support in the region. By the end of 2011 in its 5th season, more than 1500 Veterans and scores of volunteers have benefited. As the number of Veterans dealing with disabilities continues to grow, there is a great opportunity for caring citizens to show their compassion and gratitude. TAVF hopes that other groups across the country will develop similar models of outreach and welcomes the opportunity to help.