Arkansas Wildlife Federation (AWF) launched their first “Wounded Warrior Project Fishing Tournament” on Lake Dardanelle, Russellville, Arkansas on Saturday, June 8, 2013. Thanks to AWF’s many supporters and sponsors it was a very successful fishing tournament.

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have taken a big toll on our military personnel and many have come home wounded and dealing with everyday problems. So AWF decided to make a difference for them and give something back. I am sure we all know someone who has gone to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan, and most of us know someone who has returned injured.

It took a lot of work to round up 50 boat captains, to donate their time, to take the 50 wounded warriors out on the water for a day of fun. The captains and wounded warriors were teamed up on Friday in an effort to let them get to know one another for the events that would begin first thing Saturday morning.

Keep in mind that this event was not a fundraiser but we received contributions and put together gift bags that were filled with donations from supporters as well as 50 handmade quilts made by Northeast Arkansas Women’s VFW. Arkansas Game & Fish also put together a gift bag for the volunteer boat captains.

Saturday morning the Rogers-Rye VFW provided a five-gun volley and the posting of the Colors by HHB 1-206th Field Artillery. The 1-206th Field Artillery fired the cannon at 8 am to start the tournament.

A total of 34 wounded warriors from surrounding states made the trip to go fishing for the day. It was a great success, and we are already planning for next year.