BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A bit of rain never stops our servicemen and women and it sure wasn't going to stop a group of local fishing captains from taking veterans out on Lake Erie for the 2nd Annual Western New York Heroes Fishing Tournament.
Vietnam Veteran Michael Gusek said, "This gives guys a chance to get out, who normally wouldn't get out. Being a wounded Vet, and having a percentage from the Veterans Administration, we get an opportunity to get out on the lake. Some guys don't have boats or access to it so this is a good chance."
"How can you not? They give so much, we're home and we're safe, we're the safest country in the world," said Jim Hanley, Charter Captain, event organizer.
The idea of the event started a couple years ago when a local veteran was on a fishing with Jim Hanley.
Another event organizer, and an Army veteran, Benjamin Laduca said, "We started talking, he knew obviously I was a wounded veteran, we started talking about doing a tournament for the vets; let's pay back back the veterans here in the community."
The event is called a tournament, but more than anything, it's about giving back to the veterans, if only for a few hours, as a way to say thank you. Those who took part range in age from their mid 20s to late 70s. It's also a chance for all the former servicemen to share their similar stories of defending our country.
Laduca said, "For me being an Army Veteran and to talk to a Vietnam Veteran from so long ago and to compare how it was over there and how it was for me, and now to be here fishing; it's just, the conversations you have are just amazing. Nothing can compare to it because you have that love for that person even though you may never have met him or her, they're still your brother or sister."
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