KSL Outdoors: Honoring veterans with a day on the lake

(Intro) Thanks for tuning into KSL Outdoors and welcome to Strawberry Reservoir, I’m Adam Eakle. We are up here for the fourth annual D.A.V. Event, that’s the disabled veterans fishing event, Over 100 vets are on hand, over 70 volunteers with their boats that have come up to show these guys and gals how much we appreciate what they’ve done for our country.”

(Mack Spruill, Marine Corp) “united States Marines.”

(John Luque) “Navy, USS Constellation seaman 64 baby.”

(Jim) “Army”

(Troy Cook) “retired Air Force.”

(Todd Hall, Utah Disabled Fishing Foundation) “We’ve got a fantastic fishing combo for them, a really nice Diawa rod and reel that we partnered with Smith and Edwards on. We’ve got a little tackle package for them, some bait for them and some fantastic raffle items.”

(Todd Hall) “so everybody will get something.”

Veterans from Vietnam, Korea, the Gulf war, Afghanistan and Iraq are all on hand for a spectacular day of fishing. This event started with a group of giving anglers from bigfishtackle.com. The event has grown and is now a non-profit organization called the Utah Disabled Veterans Fishing Foundation.

(volunteer) “sir, did she get your number yet?”

In addition to dozen of volunteers who have brought their boats, Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife purchased one day fishing licenses for each veteran. The Knights of Columbus, the National Guard, and Hill Air Force base are on hand to get the vets on the water.

(volunteer) Ok, you ready?”

(Philip Holahan, Airforce Veteran) “Look at the turnout, everyone has smiles, they are ready to rock.”

This is Philips third time at the event and even though he’s in a wheelchair, Philip says he wouldn’t miss it for the anything.

(Philip Holahan) “They took the other leg on me in Feb. The last time I saw you I had one leg. But now they are both gone, so having this opportunity to come out here, you can’t beat it.”

(Todd Hall, Utah Disabled Veteran Fishing Foundation) “Our mission statement is to give these disabled veterans one day out of the year where they can truly feel appreciated for the sacrifices they’ve made.”

(Todd Hall, Utah Disabled Veteran Fishing Foundation) “My hope is that we never return into the vietnam days of disrespect for people……… that are willing to make those kind of sacrifices.”

(Mike Ramsey, Marine Corp) “I think it’s awesome because a lot of these guys don’t get out very much, whether it be through isolation or financial means of being able to get out and then also to mingle with the other veterans, really lifts their spirits.”

(Stean Manchego, Marine Corp Veteran) “For that one day to say hey my problems are put aside, I’m enjoying myself, I’m fishing catching fish, that’s where it’s at.”

Stevan is volunteer at the VA Hospital, drove the bus to get many of the vets here and has a son serving his second tour in Afghanistan.

(Stevan Manchego, Marine Corp Veteran) “Being a Vietnam veteran and what I went through….and I see these young kids and basically what they have been through and it’s my way of helping them.”

(Colonel Artman, Army Reserve, Joint Support/Joint Command) “When you walk through an airport whether you’ve recently deployed and come back or whether you are traveling. Because we travel in uniform and people walk up to you and shake your hand and thank you for your service. It makes you stand taller and feel real proud, just gives you a warm feeling all over.”

(passing boat) “Yeah we got four! (adam) nice. One twenty inch two pound.”

(Todd Hall) “Some of these guys are fisherman and some of them aren’t but they are all fantastic patriots.”

(Peter Stacks, Volunteer) “Not a bad day for Ray.” (adam) I’ll tell you what look at that! (Peter Stacks) Ray is the man, staff sargent Ray Hill. (ray Hill) Ten Hut, good day yeah, we racked them.”

Last year ray caught the biggest fish, this year it looks like he’s caught the most.

(Peter Stacks, Volunteer) Caught most of them in a half an hour, he was on fire. (adam) what’s the trick today captain? (peter) You’ve got to be lucky and I had Mr. Lucky Ray with me.”

(Ray Hill) I can’t wait to BBQ them.”

(Adam Tag toss to Quiz question) Well the dining facility for the event is the National Guard brought out their mobile kitchen. You are used to feeding this many guys right? (Staff Sargent Molton, Utah National Guard) definitely we are always feeding a battalion, several hundred soldiers at one time. (adam) I’m sure everybody here appreciates the food, you guys coming out and as well as your service sir. (molton) you bet, we appreciate being out here and doing this for the veterans. (adam) more coming up here on KSL Outdoors and Strawberry Reservoir, but first tonights Quiz Question.”


(John Angell, Jr.) “I joined the marines right out of Highschool, about 2 hours after highschool.”

Meet John Angell, a tough marine who in five years deployed to Iraq three times. When he came home, John had a hard time letting go of the war inside.

(John Angell, Suffers from PTSD) I didn’t sleep, had nightmares, insomnia, always paranoid. I was always on edge, my senses were always on alert. I knew when I walked into a place who was there, who was a threat to me, how to get in, how to get out, what I needed to do, because I was still in that mode of protection.”

(John Angell) “I was drinking like a fish, smoking like a chimney. I was doing drugs, doing things that would numb the pain and ignore it, adapt, overcome, push through.”

It was John’s girlfriend, now his wife that encouraged John to seek help at the VA Hospital.

(John) “and I get there and I’m 23 years old at the time and everybody there is vietnam vets, gulf war vets there is nobody my age and I’m thinking what am I doing here.”

(Tanya Miller, VA Psychologist) He’s a marine, they are tough. Some of the favorite ones to work with though. If you think about it, they are coming in and they are telling some of the most horrible things to have ever happen to them to a complete stranger who they do not know.

Tanya diagnosed John with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. A debilitating anxiety disorder triggered by exposure to a traumatic experience such as combat.

(John) “I was defensive, I had no intent what so ever to talk to her about anything. How would she know anything i was going through. it wasn’t until after words that I realized that she doesn’t know, she still doesn’t know, but she knows what I need to do to better myself.”

(Chad) go for it! (john) You don’t think I’ll eat it? (tonya) double dog dare you. (john) Double dog dare me? (tonya) No I’m just kidding, don’t do that! That’s gross, you are going to make me throw up. (eats fish) (tonya) Oh John Angel.

Tanya and her husband Chad are taking part in this years fishing event. Chad says it’s been great to combine his love of fishing with Tonya’s love of helping soldiers with PTSD.

(Chad Miller/ Board Member Utah Disabled Fishing Foundation) “The challenges they face when they get back, we all see it in the media as well. Especially with the suicide rates being as high as they are and what not. It’s just nice that we can get out and forget about what’s happening outside of what we are doing out here on the lake. I mean look at this, how could you not enjoy this.”

(Tanya Miller) “I think it’s just so important for veterans to realize that therapy doesn’t necessarily have to take place in four walls. They can get out and our goal with doing things like this is to help them re-engage with things they used to do before they deployed. I think getting them out in nature helps them get reacquainted with who they are and who they were and join those two together again.”

(Adam) “Is there a time when you think I’m cured? (john) No, you are never cured, you’ll always have those thoughts, those dreams, you’ll always have the decision you made when you were over there. It’s your ability to live with them, your ability to adapt and overcome. your can do mentality from the military that gives you that can do mentality as a civilian..”

(John) “I am very, very happy, study at the U of U for mathematics. I have a plan, I have a goal. I look forward to tomorrow instead of what did I do yesterday.”

(Tag with Tanya) well Tanya you obviously had a great influence on John and his family and helping him turn his life around. What if there is other people, vets that are in need of the same help? (tanya) so we have a walk in group every Tuesday at 11 o’clock at our new Mental Health Building, building 16. They come in they get evaluated that day, very easy. They’ll have a recommendation by the time they leave. (adam) well your husband, yourself, put on a great event, can’t wait to see what next year comes along and we’ll be here to support you guys. (tanya) thank you very much. (adam) we’ve got more coming up here on KSL Outdoors, but first back to the guys at Fish Tech for tonights fishing report.

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