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Joel DeBoer, left, and Doug Alderton with their 'Cast and Blast' catch.
Joel DeBoer, left, and Doug Alderton with their 'Cast and Blast' catch. / Joel DeBoer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

Six years ago local Wisconsin Angling Adventures fishing guide and D. C. Everest Senior High School assistant principal Todd Bohm began an annual 'Cast and Blast' event. This event, coordinated with the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation, was aimed at giving back to veterans that have served our country.

Established in 2007, the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA) is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Apollo Beach Florida. The WWIA is dedicated to serving our nation's combat wounded, Purple Heart recipients, by providing world-class outdoor sporting activities. The 'Cast and Blast' event, which consists of guided fishing and turkey hunts headquartered out of Bohmís Kronenwetter-area home, has hosted veterans from throughout the United States since 2008.

The Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation per their website has one simple mission: The Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation Inc. (WWIA) serves our Nationís combat wounded Purple Heart recipients by providing world-class outdoor sporting activities as a means 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.

Anyone having spent any amount of time in the outdoors knows just how spiritual and therapeutic time in 'Godís Country' can truly be. It is with this thought in mind that fellow Wisconsin Angling Adventures guide Joe Szarkowitz and I joined the 'Cast and Blast' two years ago. There are experiences that change a personís life and hosting veteran Josh Huber, who joined us that first Saturday morning, was just that sort of event for both Joe and I. As the morning wore on and a sense of comfort fell in to place in my boat amongst our trio, Josh opened up with Joe and I, voicing his experiences overseas.

Between the crappies, walleyes and pike being hoisted over the side of the boat Josh shared incident after incident, including the horrific encounter that led to his return stateside and receipt of a Purple Heart. Needless to say Joe and I returned to our respective homes that evening deeply moved and with a profound sense of humility, gratitude and appreciation.

This year Joe and I had the distinct pleasure of guiding Doug Alderton for an afternoon of hot walleye action. I can only hope the positive impact we had on Doug was at least a fraction of the impact he had on us. Regardless of your political affiliations, religious domination or personal beliefs it is absolutely sobering to embrace in its entirety the sacrifice so many of our men and women are willing to pay for complete strangers all in the name of freedom!

Iíll see you on the waterÖ

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Read more from Joel DeBoer.

Joel DeBoer is owner of Wisconsin Angling Adventures Guide Service, www.wisconsinanglingadventures.com.

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