Spec. Sam P. Dillon
10th Mountain Division Journalist
Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers took part in a fishing tournament Sept. 16 in Henderson Harbor sponsored by American Bass Anglers and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Some 152 Soldiers with an interest in fishing competed in the tournament for a chance to win cash prizes in several different categories. Cash prizes were awarded to Soldiers for the largest smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch and pickerel; biggest team catch and even the smallest fish.
Twenty-five members of the American Bass Anglers volunteered their time and boats for the Soldiers tournament.
“We appreciate everything that you do for use, and this is just a small token of our appreciation,” said Fred Blom, an ABA member and angler.
Many local charter companies also offered their services for the day, providing fishing trips for wounded Soldiers participating in the tournament. Many of the ABA members fished in a two-day tournament the days preceding the Soldiers tournament.
“If I could, I would shake everybody’s hand (who) helped make this day possible,” said Pfc. William Carpenter, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Mountain Division (LI). “This is probably the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.”
Because of the number of troops who participated, the tournament was broken into two waves, with two Soldiers and a boater per boat fishing for four hours during each flight. Weigh-in took place after each boat returned to the launch.
“I can tell you this is a big deal; as a matter of fact, this is a great big deal,” said Burnie Haney, ABA Division 124 director. “I am glad I was given the opportunity to be a part of it. Working with the Fort Drum MWR office has been a real treat, because they have a dedicated team of professionals who have worked tirelessly on behalf of our Soldiers.”
Along with the opportunity to go fishing with tournament anglers, every Soldier who participated in the festivities received a rod and reel along with a tackle pack to use for the day and a fishing hat provided by the Bass Pro Shop in Auburn and the ABA.
After the weigh-in, ABA also held a drawing, giving away numerous gift cards provided by Gander Mountain and fishing equipment, tackle and fishing accessories provided by Bass Pro Shop, Fort Drum Sergeants Major Association and ABA.
When the final fish was weighed and the all the prizes were handed out, Soldiers could enjoy a barbecue, where all the food was prepared and provided by the Henderson Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Family Members could join Soldiers at the barbecue, where Fort Drum MWR provided live music, a petting zoo and inflatables for children to enjoy.
“The Henderson Harbor area is very excited that we were able to entertain and honor Fort Drum Soldiers,” said Barbara Bowman, president of the Henderson Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce.
The fishing day for Soldiers was sponsored by ABA, Bass Pro Shop, Gander Mountain and Fort Drum Sergeants Major Association. Sponsorship does not imply endorsement.