Purple Heart Recipient and Wounded Warriors in Action Volunteer Andy Hendrickson (L), Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation founder Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) John J. McDaniel (C), and St. Croix Vice President of Marketing Jesse Simpkins (R) show one of 1,000 limited-edition Premier rods that will be sold at stcroixrods.com starting this Saturday to raise $40,000 each for Wounded Warriors in Action and Take a Vet Fishing. These two premier veteran’s advocacy groups use the camaraderie and healing power of fishing to improve the lives of thousands of U.S. Veterans every year.
Park Falls, WI – Fishing means different things to different people, but it’s an undisputed stress-reliever for most – a way to give the mind a break from life’s day-to-day struggles and challenges. Fishing can be so therapeutic, in fact, it’s been proven to deliver short-term relief and even long-term healing to many people suffering from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. Fishing has also been shown to promote some forms of physical healing.
Take a Vet Fishing co-founder, Jay Garstecki, is a member of the St. Croix Rod Pro Staff. He says while fishing in itself can definitely be a powerful healing tool, the therapeutic benefits are multiplied when people who share similar kinds of traumatic experiences – like our nation’s Veterans – can be brought together through fishing in a safe space to talk about what they’ve been though.
“Our slogan is ‘A Day of Giving Back’ and these outings are at the core of our mission,” says Garstecki. “When our brave service men and women return from overseas, a shockingly high number of them bring back injuries – both physical and mental wounds – and they often have a difficult time adjusting back into the ‘real world’. These Heroes have given so much of themselves for our freedom. As a nation, we fall short in showing them our appreciation. Reaching out and offering a thank you with a handshake is the very least we can do. At Take a Vet Fishing, we bring our veterans together and treat them to a full day of peaceful fishing, food, fun, and camaraderie.”
St. Croix Pro-Staffer, Andy Hendrickson, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2000 and received severe shrapnel wounds to his neck and back from an Iraqi mortar in January of 2004. When he came home to Wisconsin after completing his service, the Purple Heart recipient returned to fishing, began guiding, and started volunteering his services and expertise in support of numerous Veteran organizations and events.
“Fishing really is a great way to help bring healing to our Veterans, and that’s why there are so many events that highlight taking veterans fishing,” Hendrickson says. “I love giving back to our Veterans through these events. A couple of the regular events I volunteer for are both hosted in Eagle River, Wisconsin. The Wounded Warriors in Action Eagle River Musky Chal-Lunge held every September in Eagle River brings in 10 Purple Heart recipients from around the country for a few days of musky fishing and relaxation. The other event is in October and is hosted by Take a Vet Fishing, where any veterans are welcome to sign up for a day of fishing the species of their choice.”
Special American-Made Rods to Support Real American Heroes
Beginning at 7:00 AM Central Time on Veteran’s Day, this Saturday, November 11, St. Croix Rod is asking for help from the fishing community in raising a total of $80,000 to support our veterans through the healing work of Take a Vet Fishing and Wounded Warriors in Action. A fixed quantity of 1,000 Limited-Edition St. Croix Premier rods – the number-one-selling American-made fishing rod series – will be offered for sale at stcroixrods.com. These 7’ medium-light and medium power, fast action spinning rods wear the Take a Vet Fishing and Wounded Warriors in Action logos and will sell for $200.
These high-performance multi-species fishing rods are expected to sell quickly. They are a perfect fit to any angler’s arsenal and are sure to be a treasured gift for any Veteran in your life.
Most importantly, your purchase of one or more of these special rods will help St. Croix complete its mission of donating $40,000 each to Wounded Warriors in Action and Take a Vet Fishing.
About Wounded Warriors In Action
Honor. Connect. Heal. Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA) is a national 501(c)(3) public charity that devotes all its energy and resources to supporting the men and women wounded in combat who received the Purple Heart medal. WWIA supports these phenomenal Heroes by providing them with the opportunity to participate in world-class outdoor sporting activities at no cost to them. We do this to recognize and honor their sacrifice, encourage independence and connections with communities, and promote healing and wellness through camaraderie and a shared passion for the outdoors.
About Take a Vet Fishing
Take a Vet Fishing (TAVF) and its partner organization Operation Healing Heroes Foundation (OHHF) exist for the sole purpose of improving the lives and health of our nation’s heroes. Since 2015, the two not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organizations have combined to treat over 3,500 U.S. Veterans from all eras of service to high-quality outdoors experiences intended to promote psychological healing; taken over 500 children of fallen soldiers fishing; and documented the heroic stories of over 50 Veterans on their Operation: Healing Heroes television show on Discovery Channel and other regional and national networks. Additionally, Take a Vet Fishing and Operation Healing Heroes have arranged and paid for personalized PTSD treatments for over 225 individual Veterans since 2019.
About St. Croix Rod
Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for 75 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing. The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls, Wisconsin and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Avid®, Premier®, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.