To Whom it may concern:
My name is Brian ODonnell, I am a member at the Mercersburg Sportsmen's Association (MSA) in Mercersburg PA. I have the pleasure to be the chairman for the 2nd Annual Disabled Veteran Fishing event. We will be conducting a wounded / disabled service member fishing day at our stream. Our primary audience is disabled Veteran personnel of all US wars. Many studies have shown the combat wounded veterans as well as other veterans benefit from a day of fishing, hunting and other outdoor sports. They once again get to enjoy the camaraderie with a follow Vet that many go months or even years without. I can personally attest that after a day with fellow wounded veterans that you feel better than you do most days. The day ends with making life long friends that can be used as support for when you are going through the tough times. For the MSA to make this happen we need your support, this maybe started as MSA event but in reality, it is a whole community event to thank and help our disabled service members.
Last year we held the event, and the community support was overwhelming. We had a very nice turkey meal provided by one of the organizations, and another organization had coffee and donuts ready for the morning. We had members filet fish for the attendees and assist them stream side. We had other organization that donated supplies for fishing and gift certificates. All attendees received a new fishing pole and we had multiple door prizes and a prize drawling at the end of the event. We also had an organization there that could assist personnel that needed assistance, whether it was issues understanding how the VA works or something more serious like counseling for trauma. It may have been a small event but by the end of the day we as a community made a huge impact on their lives.
During last year?s event I tried to talk to everyone to conduct an After-Action Review (AAR.)
We received a lot of sustains. Number of fish per person. Number of attendees. (low numbers so the people fishing had plenty of room to fish), stream side assistance, and fish fileting station for the attendees. That is just a few of the sustains. All in all, everyone was extremely happy.
On the improve side there was only a few. #1 on the list was to have the ability to camp the night before so they didn?t have to drive early in the morning, # 2 Have more UTV / Golf carts to haul people if needed to and from the stream. #3 either provide coolers or instruct attendees to bring a cooler. #4. Move the date back a few weeks, reduce the chance of hot weather.
This year we plan on growing the event some and have more representatives from different organizations. We will invite the following organizations, Wounded Warrior Association, Freedom Hunters, DAV, VA outreach program, Project Healing Waters and a VA service dog coordinator. Additionally, I will also be requesting support from a certified behavior health care provider. The reason for the health car provider is if during the event someone starts to have a problem, there would be someone there to speak to. At this time, I cannot confirm any of the organizations will be there at this time. I have spoken to a few already and they are interested in attending. Some of the organizations that were there last year and plan to attend this year to assist us. The event will take place on May 18 2018. We will open the day at 0700 by offering a prayer. The Prayer will be conducted by Pastor Ryan Henderson from the Spring Run Bible Church. We will be pairing our attendees with a local volunteer that knows the water. We will continue with a small opening ceremony that recognizes the people who assisted in the event. (We will attempt to get a local newspaper to attend the opening ceremony). We will offer some coffee and donuts and then start fishing around 0800. During the event volunteers would walk the streams help anyone that needs help. We will fish until 1200. At that time, we would have lunch. After the lunch break approximately 1300 the fishing would resume. At that time all veterans and staff would be allowed to fish. Each disabled service member may bring a guest to assist them fishing and if they have time fish also. There first priority would be to help the warrior that brought them. At 1600 will mark an end to the fishing day, but the attendees may continue to fish if they prefer until dusk. Last year after lunch most of the attendees decided to leave for home since they already caught their limit. Out of all the attendees only 3 didn?t catch their limit by lunch.
A Timeline of Events for the day of the fishing event.
0600 staff arrive performs set up duties
0645 attendees arrive and register (Address: 12143 Dickeys Run Mercersburg PA 17236)
0700 Opening prayer attendees and Guides do a meet and greet over coffee and donuts
0730 Pictures and introduction of the supporters of the event
0800 Start Fishing
1200 Head to the club house to eat lunch
1300 the formal part of our program will be over.
Attendees and staff may continue to fish if they do not have their limit yet.
1400 Clean Up starts
Things that we need to make this a memorable trip for the warriors.
Fishing Gear (Rod, reel, fish bags, stringers, lures/baits, gear bags/tackleboxes and nets)
The Next Steps:
January 26th send out/deliver notices to local business.
Some Legal Stuff.
The MSA is not responsible for injuries, and it is suggested that the service member attending should check with his or her doctor if there is any doubt on whether they are physically able to fish. The event should be considered low impact with most areas being flat and mowed. Wheel chair areas will be designated. Transportation to and from the event is not included. Hotels are not included in this event. A PA fishing License is not required for this event.
My contact information is below my signature block, feel free to contact me with any question, comments or concerns during this undertaking. Thank you for your time and any help you can give us.
SFC, 19D4O, RET