Purple Heart Recipients Enjoy Lanier Fishing Trip With SCI
The annual Wounded Veterans Fishing Weekend hosted 25 Purple Heart recipients at Lake Lanier.
The Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI) was honored to host 25 Purple Heart recipients during its annual Wounded Veterans Fishing Weekend at Lake Lanier July 9-11. The event, which has been hosted for more than a decade by Georgia SCI, provides a full weekend of fishing and fun on Lake Lanier for wounded veterans and their guests. During the three-day event, veterans—including their family members or guests—were treated to an all-expenses-paid weekend of meals, accommodations and fishing.
The weekend’s festivities kicked off with a Friday evening dinner at Rooster’s Café, where upon entrance, veterans were greeted with a standing ovation from restaurant customers and staff. An amazing meal followed, rivaling meals from some of the best restaurants in Bozeman, and veterans and volunteers were given the opportunity to get to know each other.
Saturday morning began bright and early as the veterans set out for an 11-boat fishing tournament on Lake Lanier. Habit Outdoors, maker of high-quality outdoor apparel, generously outfitted each veteran and volunteer with technical fishing shirts. As boats began leaving the dock, friendly competition waged, and the anglers were vying for several awards to be presented later in the evening. Just minutes into the early morning fishing, the first fish was caught. This was just the beginning, as anglers steadily reeled in striped bass, spotted bass and catfish over the next several hours. Following a fantastic morning of fishing with some of Lake Lanier’s best captains, veterans and volunteers ate lunch and were given the remainder of the afternoon to relax prior to the scheduled dinner cruise.
Later that evening, more than 100 guests, including the veterans and their family members and guests, Georgia SCI volunteers and members, and dignitaries, boarded the Amistad, a 100-foot houseboat owned by Tommy and Chantal Bagwell. Participants experienced a three-hour sunset cruise on Lake Lanier, feasting and fellowshipping even more throughout the night.
Awards were presented to several of the anglers from the day’s fishing tournament, and participants heard messages from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Mark Williams and DNR Law Enforcement Division Colonel Thomas Barnard, with the common theme being a message of sincere thanks and gratitude to the veterans for their service to our great country. Nearing the end of the evening, cruise-goers heard from one veteran about his experience as a prisoner of war (POW) at the “Hanoi Hilton” during the Vietnam War, and how it reinforced his patriotism and military Code of Conduct.
“The Georgia Chapter of SCI is committed to supporting our men and women in uniform and this is a small way for us to show our appreciation,” said Dick Caillouet, a Vietnam Veteran, and Vice President and Chairman of Wounded Veterans Events for Georgia SCI. “We want to show these veterans and their families that we care for them. One consistent message I receive from them is that we are indeed helping and changing people’s lives. It’s incredibly powerful.”
Throughout the years, the Georgia Chapter of SCI has touched nearly 1,000 active-duty military and veterans through its humanitarian efforts and events geared towards getting our service members outdoors.
The event was made possible by numerous volunteers from Georgia SCI, Ron Mullins of The Striper Experience and other Lake Lanier Fishing Guides, The Tommy Bagwell Family, Coppersmith Global Logistics, Habit Outdoors, Chad Milner, and our hero service members.
About the Georgia Chapter of SCI
The Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, volunteer-based organization dedicated to promoting and protecting our hunting heritage through education, conservation, and humanitarian efforts. Founded in 1981, the Georgia Chapter is one of the oldest SCI chapters in the world. Visit www.GeorgiaSCI.org for more information.
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