Fishing for Freedom

In Lake Ramona, Ga., volunteers and military supporters commemorated the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by honoring some of the men and women who fought against the terrorist groups behind the tragedy. Almost 100 servicemembers, National Guardsmen and Gold Star family members participated in Fishing for Freedom - an event that honored the veterans of the current wars by taking them out for a day of fishing. The Fifth District of the Legion's Department of Georgia helped coordinate and support the Sept. 10 outing.

"This activity not only touched other lives but touched my life forever. We must do more," said Carlis Baker, event organizer and member of Post 143 in Carrollton, Ga.

Veterans and wounded warriors - some of whom drove as long as five hours to participate - were the guests of the Walters family, owners of Lake Ramona. Members of the family volunteered their time at the event and gave participants fishing equipment. All day, 10 fishing boats shuttled attendees around the lake, and food and drinks were provided.

Legionnaires from Georgia's Fifth District volunteered and participated, along with members of the Sons of The American Legion and Auxiliary. A Georgia National Guard unit assembled fishing poles, and local JROTC cadets coordinated parking and performed a flag ceremony at the onset of the event.

"I was extremely impressed with the event that Carlis and his team put on - so very professional and well executed and for me personally, very moving," J.R. Ince, owner of a tackle manufacturing company in nearby Canton, Ga. "I was in tears a few times. Actually talking with these folks, and seeing the devastating sadness in the eyes and voices of the kids, is so much different than just hearing about the family tragedies on the evening news."

The Walters family and the Fifth District of Georgia plan on hosting another Fishing for Freedom event March 25, 2012, where an additional 25 military families are expected to attend.