A fine day on the water for those who served

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 9, 2014 - 9:57 AM

Able-bodied and disabled, younger and older, veterans were treated to a day on the water.

view larger photos

  

“There’s one!” Nate Foster said as his rod bent under the weight of a broad-shouldered, 17-inch feisty smallmouth bass.

The first fish of the day brought bragging rights.

“This is what they look like,” said Foster, 35, of St. Cloud, teasing his grandfather, Swede Anderson, 82, of Rochester, who had yet to hook a fish.

“I can catch a bigger one than that,” Anderson replied dryly after Foster released the smallie back into the swollen Mississippi River.

There was plenty of good-natured ribbing Friday as 86 military veterans fished with guides or pro anglers at the fourth annual Trolling for the Troops event at Camp Ripley. Some veterans trekked to Lake Mille Lacs for a day on big water; others, like Foster and Anderson, fished the more intimate Mississippi River, which borders the Minnesota National Guard’s training facility.

The gathering brought different generations together under a brilliant blue sky.

Foster is an Army helicopter pilot who served recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. Anderson is a Navy veteran of the Korean War who, after his ship hit a mine and sunk, survived a night in North Korean waters clinging to a buoy. Five sailors died. “I’m not a hero, I’m a survivor,” Anderson said.

The fishing event is a way to bring disabled vets together with recently deployed soldiers to thank them for their service — and more.

“Some of these guys are hurting,” said Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley’s post commander and an avid angler who launched the event four years ago when he got the job.

“You have to bring them out of their shell. There are a million ways to do that. For me, it’s the outdoors. Everyone changes when they go to war. Being outdoors heals.”

St. Sauver is an Iraq war veteran who grew up in South Dakota fishing walleyes and perch. He modeled Trolling for the Troops after the successful deer and turkey hunts for disabled veterans that have long been held at the camp.

“I love to fish,” St. Sauver said. And that passion often was shared by his solders overseas. “When they’d talk about what they missed most about home, they’d mention hunting deer or ducks or fishing,” he said.

He figured that Camp Ripley, nestled along 18 miles of undeveloped Mississippi riverfront and a short jaunt from famed Lake Mille Lacs, was a perfect venue for an event to get veterans — both disabled and able-bodied — on the water for some R&R and a chance to fish with guides and professional anglers.

“This gives them an opportunity to get out there and experience something that maybe they haven’t done,” St. Sauver said.

The event has grown each year. On Friday, 43 guides volunteered their time, boats and equipment to take 86 veterans fishing.

“We’ve really been treated nice,” said Anderson as he cast a spinnerbait under the limbs of maple trees overhanging the river.

“This is our way of saying ‘Thank you,’ ” said Eric Altena of St. Cloud, a member of the Upper Mississippi River Smallie Club, who guided grandfather and grandson. The club is a group of two dozen “river rats” who prowl for bass.

  • related content

  • Anderson: High school trapshooting teams are good news

    Saturday June 7, 2014

    Competitive high school trapshooting now involves more prep students in Minnesota than hockey does and is by far the state’s fastest-growing school sport.

  • Nate Foster, left, of St. Cloud, a 35-year-old veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and his grandfather, Swede Anderson, 82, of Rochester, a veteran of the Korean War, displayed a smallmouth bass that Anderson caught during the Trolling for the Troops event Friday at Camp Ripley. “We’ve really been treated nice,” Anderson said.

  • Foster, an Army helicopter pilot, waved to a Blackhawk helicopter that flew over the Mississippi River on Friday while he was fishing with his grandfather.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - K. Gausman 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Houston - B. Peacock 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
San Francisco - T. Hudson 6:05 PM
Washington - D. Fister
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Stroman
Atlanta - M. Minor 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Latos
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:10 PM
Boston - J. Kelly
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 7:05 PM
Texas - C. Lewis
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Detroit - R. Ray 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Miami - H. Alvarez 7:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
San Diego - O. Despaigne 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
LA Angels - H. Santiago 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
NY Mets - J. Niese 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Carolina 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 8:00 PM
FC Dallas
Montreal 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close