Classic Pros Giving Back

I had the volunteer opportunity of a lifetime to support a visit at the local Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ medical center. The Bassmaster Classic Professionals are in Shreveport for the Superbowl of bass fishing and volunteered their time to visit military Veterans at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center.

Fourteen of the top professionals in the nation descended on the Shreveport VA medical center to talk fishing and take pictures with Veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Upon arriving and getting a short briefing, the pros broke up into groups to visit as many patients as possible and I can say they are true ambassadors for their sport. They signed hats and shirts for the Veterans and discussed their trade; there was an immediate connection through the generations for a shared passion of fishing.

As we were departing one particular floor, one of the floor nurses voiced her appreciation for the visit and the positive effect it had on the patients. As an escort, I immediately noticed a spark and excitement in their eyes as the groups entered the rooms and introduced themselves.

Wesley, an Army Veteran who is wounded warrior, and his wife, Sam, drove the hour and a half from the Monroe area to volunteer to escort the group around the medical center. Wesley, with the aid of his crutches led his group of fishing professionals through the halls with his head held high and smiling. When the day ended, that smile was still beaming as he headed home. I have to admit, I was beaming as well. What an exciting day!

If you get a chance to talk with one of these guys, please thank them for their continued support from all us Veterans: Keith Poche, Kevin VanDam, Aaron Martens, Brent Chapman, Randy Howell, Todd Faircloth, Tim Horton, Fred Roumbanis, Bill Lowen, Brandon Palaniuk, Josh Polfer, Shaw Grigsby, Denny Brauer, Matt McCoy.

As a Retired Veteran I would like to thank these professionals who took time out of their busy schedules to provide a smile and a fantastic memory to our nation’s heroes.

Chip Harmeson

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