Approximately 28 veterans took to the water Saturday morning for the second annual Take a Veteran Fishing event.
This event, held by the Algoma Veteran’s Association and the Algoma Fish and Game Club, allows veterans the opportunity to get out and meet other veterans – something they may not have done otherwise.
Joe Giuliani, from the Algoma Fish and Game Club, is the chair/organizer of this event. He said he decided to bring this event to the Sault last year after helping a friend with a similar event in Michigan for wounded warriors.
“I know we don’t have a whole lot of wounded warriors here, but I opened it up to all veterans,” he told SaultOnline. “And that was just the main thing – people who served our country and that gave us our freedom to do this. I said ‘I want to give back,’ so that’s why I brought this event here.”
Giuliani said he thinks this event has done a good job at bringing the veterans together.
“We make forever bonds and friendships here,” he said.
For Jason Rowlinson, a Veteran who joined the Reserves at the age of 16, this event has been a way to reconnect with people he now considers as family.
“So what this does is it gets us together – people of the same mentality, same background – and reunites us similarly to what we had when we were in the Forces.”
Rowlinson said, personally, this opportunity allows him to get out and socialize, as he tends to isolate himself.
“I’ve been out of the military for 20 years or o,” he said. “This gets me back to where I was once, and enjoying the people that are like family to me.”
He also said he thinks it’s a great way to help other Veterans cope with what they’ve gone through and adapting back into society, and to help them start enjoying life again.
“For us to be able to come out and give a little bit of joy to these people – it’s just an incredible feeling,” he said.
“You see everyone get together in the morning, and as they’re getting together they’re loading up the boats, and all of a sudden, 10 minutes later, there’s the biggest smiles you’ve ever seen on these people’s faces, they’re all holding out fish, they’re having a great time, they’re out, they’re enjoying the beauty of Northern Ontario, the beauty of Sault Ste. Marie, the beauty of our waters. So it’s a great way for people in our community to even find a way to give back to these individuals in a small way, to thank them for everything that they’ve done for us.”