Twenty-five wounded and disabled U.S. veterans took to the water for the seventh annual Fish with a Hero in Islamorada recently. They were guided by 14 charter boat captains out of Bass Pro’s Bayside Marina. 

“This is so fantastic. How could you not want to help these brave men and women?” said Scott Liebert, general manager of the Bass Pro Shops complex in Islamorada.

Mark Gibson, director of Fish With a Hero’s Florida Keys operations, said he was blown away by the support seen for the veterans. 

“I think this year hits a new record in terms of the Keys community coming out with their total support of these heroes,” he said. 

Fish With a Hero is a non-profit that uses recreational therapy in the form of fishing to help our wounded and disabled vets recover from post traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) and other disabilities and wounds of war. From Sept. 21 through Sept. 24, the organization received help from major sponsors in Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, the entire Bass Pro complex in Islamorada, and Mangrove Mike’s Cafe, which provided breakfasts for all volunteers and participants all three mornings of the event.

A Fish With A Hero participant shows off a snook. CONTRIBUTED

The event would not have been possible without the donated talent and expertise of many of our professional captains from Bass Pro’s Bayside Marina: Capt. Mike Makowski, of Blackfoot Charters; Capt. Sam Milazzo, of Vice Versa Charters; Capt. Ryan Wenzel, of 4Reel Charters; Capt. Sam Milazzo, of Milazzo Charters; Capt. Larry Syndor; Capt. Chris Barron, of Stray Cat Charters; Capt. Jimmy Ficklingg, of Can ‘O Worms Charters; Capt.Ronnie Brack, of Pirate For Hire; Scott Martin, of Vice Versa Charters; Capt. Carlos Jimenez, of Gringo Charters; Capt. Joey Murphy, of Bamboo Charters; Capt. Paul Mining, of Solutions Charters; and Capt Matt Bellinger, of Bamboo Charters.

“We thank our sponsors, captains, and the community as a whole from the bottom of our collective hearts for coming out to support our wounded and disabled vets,” said Larry Kendzior, Fish With a Hero’s Executive Director,  “All of us look forward to another successful event next year.”

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