On July 19th I will be taking 20 veterans from the Bedford MA VA hospital community fishing with The Yankee Fleet of Gloucester MA.I’ve been a volunteer at the hospital for 5+ years. After giving a couple of slide shows on fishing for the nursing home residents I was asked if I could take a group from the VA’s “Crescent House” transitional living facility for homeless veterans on a fishing trip. Since I was taking a large group I secured funding from my Rotary Club, where I am the club secretary, and took them deep sea fishing on a head boat out of Newburyport. In addition to being able to accommodate a large group these vessels are handicapped accessible. Subsequently I was asked if I could do more trips as an ongoing component of the VAs Recreational Therapy Program. Our second trip was subsidized, as is this one, by both my church, the First Religious Society of Carlsile MA and the Rotary Club. I also applied for and received a grant from Rotary Club District 7910 which will enable me to do three to four of these trips this year.
The Rotary Club’s motto is “Service Above Self”. In my case, I can’t think of a much better way than to engage in an activity I’m passionate about while being able to give a little recognition to those who’ve served and to give them a break from some of the issues and daily hardships they face in civilian life or as a resident of the hospital.