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Take-A-Vet-Fishing making memories for those who served

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 8/29/18

FORTUNE BAY MARINA— The parade of veterans made their way down the docks, some slowly, some helping others, as they headed out Thursday morning for a few hours of fishing on Lake Vermilion.

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Giving back

Take-A-Vet-Fishing making memories for those who served

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FORTUNE BAY MARINA— The parade of veterans made their way down the docks, some slowly, some helping others, as they headed out Thursday morning for a few hours of fishing on Lake Vermilion.

The annual Take-a-Vet-Fishing event, organized by the Lake Vermilion Guides League and Fortune Bay Resort Casino, brings military veterans from around the area for fishing, fellowship, lunch, and a heaping helping of thanks for their service.

It was the fourth annual event this year, and the march of time was clearly taking its toll on many of the participants, particularly the pool of area World War II vets, who were down to just five, a drop from the nine who were able to make it last year.

But on a day with blue skies and a pleasant breeze, the prospect of a few hours on the water was enticing enough to reignite the can-do attitude of these aging warriors. As part of the program, they heard a short speech keynote from David Morrison, Bois Forte Secretary-Treasurer, a benediction and the entrance of the color guard. Then, the several dozen participants posed for pictures before making their way to the boats, each with its own volunteer guide, in hopes of putting a few walleyes in the live well.

And the guides delivered, as the vets came back with plenty of fish in many cases.

Guide Dave Schaeffer’s boat did better than most, picking up 33 fish that morning, including 11 walleye and 19 smallmouth bass, along with a handful of jumbo perch.

Ray Anderson, one of the older vets at the event, may spend his time in a wheel chair, but he showed he could still slay the walleyes, pulling in the bulk of a nice haul of ten eater-sized fish from a pontoon piloted by guide Rob Bryers.

Ray Berg and Don Reinhardt had a big day on the water with guide Doug Ellis. “We got to keep 14 and we threw a bunch back,” he said. The two longtime pals, who both served in Korea, haven’t missed a Take-a-Vet-Fishing day since it started. “And I hope to make it back next year, God willing,” said Berg.

Reinhardt and Berg were on their way up the hill to the shorelunch, put on by Fortune Bay while their guide was busy cleaning their fish to take home.

“It’s a pretty nice deal,” said Reinhardt. “We sure appreciate it.”

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