Disabled Veterans Fishing | NC Now | UNC-TV

Disabled Veterans Fishing | NC Now | UNC-TV


A day on the lake can be
an escape from busy life for most people, but for a
group of disabled veterans, the escape is from the pain and isolation of their injuries. – [Jeff] The boats are
cruising the lake today, fishing poles in tow. Just another day on the water looking for the
perfect fishing hole. – Oh, man, we’re doing great. Start out a little
slow, but we’re not doing too bad, you
know, you can always wish to do better,
but we’re doing fine. – [Frank] For these disabled
veteran men and women on the lake today, every cast
out and reel in is an escape. – This one might win
the money, you know. You never know. – Just to come out
and have a good day with these guys here,
it means the world. With me, my biggest problem is I do about 300 migraines a year. Broke my back and broke my neck in a real serious auto accident, I was on duty as an
MP, rolled the vehicle. This is as normal as
I can possibly get. – [Frank] Operation
North State has held fishing festivals like
this one across the state for disabled veterans
for several years. Each one is a way to help
these vets get back to life. – [Jim] There is almost not
a day that goes by for me that I’m not laid up in
one fashion or another, so this is a great thing for us. – Any day’s good to
get out of the house. – In the growth we see
the number of veterans that we’re able to
serve and primarily wounded warriors and
disabled veterans. But the growth
more than anything is what you’re hearing
back from their caregivers, from their caseworkers,
from their family members, from their communities, that
it’s changing their lives. – This is probably about my
third year, and I love it. I look forward to
it any time I can get out here, it’s
just enjoyable. – Most of these guys,
when they have an injury, they go through treatment,
then they go through rehab, but then they have
to reintegrate. They have to reintegrate
with themselves, they’ve got to reintegrate
with their family, their community, and
the general public. That’s where this recreational
therapy is so important. – I love it ’cause you
get to meet more veterans. You know, I mean you get
out and you enjoy yourself. Go back in, you eat,
you meet more people that you’ve never met before that’s been in the
Army, whatever. – You’d get a good
meal out of that. – Oh, yeah. – There’s a few more in here. – [Frank] The conversation
and fresh air is the therapy. The fishing is a
secondary benefit here. And the fish are
doing their part to come say hello to the
veterans in the boats, too. Well, most of the time. – Don’t get one of
those spurs in you. – Ah, the fishing’s great. – Yeah, I love it,
fishing’s fishing. Some days we catch all of them, and sometimes we just catch
the biggest one in the lake. Right now we’re catching
the biggest one in the lake. – Yeah, it’s a bunch of lies. They get out there,
they get the opportunity to catch a fish,
and the lies begin, but they have a lot of fun. Again, it’s back to
maybe what they did years ago before they
came across their injury. – [Frank] You got a
great big one there? – I don’t know, we’re
still looking for it. – [Frank] What’s it like having these other veterans with
you on the boat today? – Oh, I’m trying to
learn something, man. All this wisdom, they
should pass some along. I’m trying to pick
up some of it. – Trouble is, it’s the
blind leading the blind. – [Frank] And after the
last boat returns ashore, and the last fish is
weighed and measured, these men and women will have
a lifetime of new memories that are not about their
injury or disability, but of the time they
just went fishing. – Any time I can get away
from dealing with the, the normal, dealing with
the pain and other stuff, it’s a great day. – So yeah, they’re going
to be slapping each other on the back, they’re
going to be on Facebook showing their pictures, and
you as the general public out there when you see
these guys throwing these pictures up,
these are guys that don’t smile that often,
they don’t get out of the house that
often, they don’t trust the general public that often, so those smiles are all
about the difference recreational therapy
makes in their lives.

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