To date, the nonprofit organization, Take A Vet Fishing (TAVF), has arranged and hosted over 2,000 U.S. military veterans outdoors for a day of fishing. Over 400 different fishing guides have donated their time, their boats, their expertise, and other resources to make our American heroes feel welcome while experiencing a peaceful, fun and healing time on the water.
In 2021, TAVF is scheduled to take over 400 more veterans fishing, weather permitting. “Many caring volunteers give their time to thank our veterans for their service and have fun themselves while doing so,” says Jay Garstecki, President and Co-Founder of TAVF. “It’s just a simple way to give back to the brave people who have fought selflessly for our great country.” ‘A day of giving’ is the slogan TAVF uses to thank our nation’s heroes. “Reaching out and offering a handshake along with a fun experience in the great outdoors is the very least we can do,” Garstecki continues.
But a handshake and some fun, it turns out, may be the least important benefits that TAVF provides to the veterans who participate in its programs and events. Fishing is well known as a relaxing pastime, and research proves that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general anxiety disorder (GAD) can be alleviated by winding down and casting a line into the water to fish. Many veterans actually experience healing through fishing, and TAVF and its supporting partners are doing everything they can to create and foster more of those experiences.
“Our company enables extraordinary mobile experiences as we travel, live, work and play,” says Rich Honsey, Winnebago RVs General Manager and TAVF volunteer. “And ‘extraordinary’ certainly sums up a day on the water with Take A Vet Fishing and our country’s finest.”
Steve Heese, Chris-Craft President and Winnebago Industries Foundation board member agrees. “Veterans and their families give selflessly to our country. At Winnebago Industries, we gratefully recognize the service of all veterans, some of whom we employ. We are proud to extend our reach and support of even more U.S. veterans by supporting the work of TAVF in connecting our American heroes with the outdoors, friends, and fishing.”
“It takes resources and creativity to deliver on our mission of creating these special on-the-water experiences for our veterans,” says TAVF and Operation Fishing Freedom Foundation Executive Director, Rich Belanger. “We’re grateful to have the support and partnership of the Winnebago Industries Team. Their excellent brands give people the freedom to explore and experience the great outdoors, and they’re doubling down on that commitment to offer that freedom – and all the benefits that come with it – to a segment of the population that really needs it and will benefit from it.”