(Cary Robarge, Co-Founder Hand in Hand Outdoors) Hand in Hand outdoors is a non-profit organization that was designed to provide recreational opportunities for our veterans, wounded warriors, children with disabilities and anybody that may or may not have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.
I first met the Hand in Hand crew when they launched Freedom’s Dream. A pontoon boat designed specifically to take disabled veterans, and children in wheelchairs to experience fishing and the great outdoors.
Today their focus is on families of soldiers killed in action and families of soldiers who have taken their own life after returning home from war.
Cary Robarge) We are just trying to provide a need and an opportunity for families to come together and share a common experience and make it through the healing process and what a better place to do that than the beautiful Lake Powell.
Many volunteers offered up their boats and support to give these families a great outing. Most of these families have never been to Lake Powell.
[(taking off) (fred yells and laughs) Yeah baby.
So when Steve Henline called and asked if we’d help take families fishing.
(Fred yells and laughs as we drive)
We said absolutely.
(nats line off reel)
(Stephen) so I just cast over there towards the bank?
Steve lost his son last July. Fred lost his two years ago last October, both took their own lives after returning home from the war.
(Fred Hodges, lost son to suicide after war) it’s a hard thing to talk about because a lot of people understand the war piece of them dying over there, but we are loosing so many from suicide when they return home.
(Fred Hodges, Stationed at Hill Air Force Base) it’s a fraternity you don’t want to be a part of, but it does exist and so help each other out. (adam) what do you think of what they did here? (fred) awesome. (steve) like I was saying I would have never been able to come down and do anything like this If my son was here today he’d probably be cheering me on, saying yeah dad you finally took some time off. You know vacation. (fred) I wouldn’t have done this on my own. (laughs)
(Adam) there he is get him! (stephen hits fish) nice fish on! Take your time with him, light line. Nice job.
(Fish splash nat) (fred) good sized. (adam) yeah.
It is a thrill watching stephen reel in fish after fish.
(hits fish) (adam) there he is. Nice. (fred) good job.
I got a chance to learn about their boys and was able to show them some of the beauty of Lake Powell.
(Steve) boy he sure nailed it. (other boat) nice steve way to go buddy.
(Fred oh, he nibbled again. (laughs)
and if we could just got Fred a fish, life would have been perfect.
(Stephen) christmas time….(steve hooks up) (adam) oh my gosh! (adam) I had my rod out too, I gave up. (fred) see why I go to the supermarket! (laughs)
Cary Robarge) There’s something about it that is not measurable by a profit or loss statement or a balance sheet. This is not something you can quantify. The only way that you can really understand what the reward of this is to get involved and serve and give back and so we are just grateful to have that opportunity to give back.