Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.


Submitted by Jeff Kelm

More

On Wednesday January 16, 2013 I had an experience I will never forget. Months of planning, scouting, receiving and making calls all added up to one of the most memorable days on the ice I have ever had.

I had the pleasure of teaming up with Veterans Outdoor World USA to assist veterans from the Tomah VAMC and others from around Central Wisconsin on a day of ice fishing, filming for television and a nice meal.

The morning started with a 6 a.m. pow wow at Cafe Hilltop in Montello with Tom Gruenwald, host of Outdoors With Tom Gruenwald and other HT Enterprisesí Pro Staff. We decided on a plan of action for the day and headed to Lake Montello on the north side of the city.

We set up the HT InstaShaks over areas we had scouted earlier in the week, drilled out holes, had the tip- ups baited and patiently waited for a bus of veterans to join us. Already on the ice with us that morning we had vets from all branches of the military, and even an active duty member. My grandfather had made the trip down from Antigo to enjoy a day on a lake that takes him back to when he was a very young boy working on our family farm not far from town. Grandpa served with the Navy Seabees.

More on fishing: Fishing news from around the state | Your fishing photos | Build a map | Read fishing reports | We're blogging about fishing

Once the Veterans arrived, it was all about getting them comfortable, and catching fish. Some had told us that it was the very first time they had ever stood on frozen water. You can imagine their face the first time they heard the ice make noise as it expanded. These veterans were more enthusiastic about catching fish then I have ever seen, even the children I see at our Kids events.

We set up the HT InstaShaks over areas we had scouted earlier in the week, drilled out holes, had the tip- ups baited and patiently waited for a bus of veterans to join us. Already on the ice with us that morning we had vets from all branches of the military, and even an active duty member. My grandfather had made the trip down from Antigo, WI to enjoy a day on a lake that takes him back to when he was a very young boy working on our family farm not far from town. Grandpa served with the Navy Seabees.

Once the Veterans arrived, it was all about getting them comfortable, and catching fish. Some had told us that it was the very first time they had ever stood on frozen water. You can imagine their face the first time they heard the ice make noise as it expanded. These veterans were more enthusiastic about catching fish then I have ever seen, even the children I see at our Kids events.

It did not take long for the helpers on the ice to find some fish for our guests. The veterans took advantage of every opportunity they could, braving the wind chill and some snow to catch a fish or two.

Lunch time found us all enjoying the company and stories of fishing "back home" or "back when". We had a great meal of brats and burgers cooked up right on the ice. It did not take the Veterans long to eat and get back to fishing.

These men and women renewed the drive that fades at times in my heart for ice fishing; the smiles they wore were incredible. The joy in their voices as they told everyone the story of how they caught the last fish was so obvious, you couldnít help but smile.

The veterans left the ice mid afternoon, with a sense of accomplishment, with a few fish and memories that will stick with them for quite some time.

The men and women of our military have sacrificed so much of their time, many their own health and too many their lives so that we may enjoy the little things we do every day. The soccer practices, the Friday night movie, the opportunity to start a business, the chance to speak out, it is all because of these brave people, that at the time may not have seen the lasting impact the will have on the course of history. They deserve days like this, they have earned a chance to just have a little time where they can forget about the pain, about the fear, about the scars. They should all get recognition, every single person who has served, in times of peace, war or transition. I have what I have and you have what you have because they signed their name for our sake.

I wish to thank Lance Hoefs the President of Veterans Outdoor World USA for inviting me and to all who have served, thank you.

The day on the ice was recorded for a future episode of Outdoors with Tom Gruenwald and Outdoor Wisconsin.

More In

Don't Miss

Join Our Team!

If you are interested in working for an innovative media company, you can learn more by visiting:

Gannett Careers

Wisconsin Day Trips

See all Day Trip Videoes


A new video will be shared in this series every Thursday

Get Published

Report on your outdoor group's news! Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com's Community Newsroom is a free service provided to clubs, nonprofits, schools, churches, families, scouting groups and civic organizations to publish their news, events and happenings on our website. Wisconsin residents with an interest in the outdoors are invited to write articles that Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com edits and shares with our readers online.

Submit an article today

Blogs