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In conjunction with Bureau of Land Management, FCO is having the 1st Annual event on this incredible site.
I had originally volunteered to help out since I was already down in FL to see my mom. But, Paul Ketrick needed to have back surgery and I took over as lead for the event.
Easy enough as BLM has a crew here as well as folks from the Lighthouse Historical Society.
We have 6-7 local fishermen as shore guides and 30+ vets participating so far.
The most important part is simply just being thankful for these guys. Incredible stories.
So far there have been no fish caught but lots of hope!
One of the local guys brought his cast net and we have live bait to go along with frozen shrimp that was donated by a local tackle shop.
Pictures to come later.
That is great, Ernie! Keep us posted.
50 or so vets in attendance. Most from local VA hospitals.
Some of the volunteers were as well.
They had a blast even though not many fish were caught. And they all want to come back so it looks like FL again next Oct.
We raffled off some stuff and ate a bunch of pizza which was provided by Papa Johns for $5 a pie. Need to work on local contacts for donated stuff. I did get some tackle for nothing once I explained what we see doing. The owner of the shop now wants to be involved for the next event.
Here is the write up from a local paper....
JUPITER INLET LIGHTHOUSE ONA HOSTS INAUGURAL VETERANS FAMILY FISHING CLASSIC
On October 12, 2015 the first annual Jupiter Inlet Veterans Family Fishing Classic was held. Open to all wounded, injured or ill heroes and their families, the event gave 65 anglers (many from West Palm Beach VA Medical Center, VA West Palm Beach Blind Rehabilitation Center, and the Salvation Army) an opportunity to fish, relax and enjoy camaraderie. Activities included hosted shore fishing, professional fishing instruction with all equipment supplied, family activities, educational and interpretive activities and a closing celebration with lunch and raffle prizes. It was great to see the veterans and their families having a good time and enjoying the day as did the 15+ volunteers. The weather was sunny and bright which called for lots of sunscreen and water.
Unfortunately the bite rate was slow. Anglers who ventured out to wade were rewarded with a mix of surf perch, catfish and snapper. Those who didn’t catch a fish still enjoyed learning how to cast and bait a hook. Others learned how to tie classic knots and set rigs for bottom fishing. They were also shown how to throw a seine net and retrieve live bait from shore.
The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (ONA) property, managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), provides an oasis vibrant in cultural and nautical history; it is an awesome public resource where the Loxahatchee River and Indian River Lagoon flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The area is well known for its important manatee habitat and historic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.
The non-profit FishingCommunity.Org (FCO), in conjunction with the BLM, Loxahatchee River Historical Society, the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, and multiple community sponsors used the site to serve our veterans and their families and demonstrate the recreational, educational and rehabilitation capabilities of public land fishing resources.
The Classic is an application of a national service model developed by the BLM and FCO Partnership to utilize America’s public land fishing resources to develop engagement and vitality between the BLM and other state and federal agencies, local communities, Veteran Affairs, Department of Defense, the local fishing community, and veterans and their families.
This inaugural, nationally-recognized event is intended to be a recurring outing at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA. It is open to and free of charge to any veteran, from any campaign, and of any disability level, and open to all family members. Volunteers can be anyone who wants to help us make a difference.
The land includes an important tidal wetland constructed along the Intracoastal Waterway, providing habitat for wading birds and a nursery for marine fish and other organisms. The 120 acre tract contains lands administered by the BLM, U.S. Coast Guard and the Town of Jupiter.
The managed area contains Florida scrub, maritime hammock, and mangrove swamp natural communities. The part of the site on the south side of Beach Road lies within the Town of Jupiter and contains the historic 1860 Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, the George Washington Tindall Pioneer House and the Town of Jupiter Lighthouse Park. The Loxahatchee River Historical Society provides scheduled guided tours of the lighthouse. The natural area is part of the Northeast Everglades Natural Area.
FishingCommunity.Org does not replace existing veteran service programs, but works to enhance, compliment and fills gaps by providing coordination and communication between organizations, charities, fishermen, citizens, and government programs to “connect and empower” wounded military members and veterans, highly stressed individuals and environmentalists across the country. After all, it is about us working together as a community that makes the difference.
This event was for and about the veterans and their families. It was a success as seen with the many smiles of all participants, volunteers and partners. Lots of new friends were made and at the end of the event veterans and their families were asked if they would attend the event next year and they all answered with an enthusiastic YES!
If you would like to participate in or sponsor future events, become a volunteer or donor, or hold an event in your area; contact FishingCommunity.Org at www.fishingcommunity.org or contact FCO founder Paul K. Ketrick at email@example.com
We look forward to returning next year and making this event even bigger! Until then keep fishing, stay in touch and let us know what you have been catching in the beautiful Jupiter Inlet, Florida.
Very nice! Good job.