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Notes from the Field: August/September 2022


NOTES FROM THE FIELD: August/September 2022

Heroes and guides heading out for a morning of fantastic fishing at the 11th Annual Lake Erie Trophy Walleye Fishing.
Photo courtesy of WWIA Guides Jon French and Tim Spence.


Notes From the Field: August/September 2022

As the summer months were coming to a close, our Heroes took part in eight world-class events across the United States. From fishing in the Louisiana bayou to bear hunting in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, our Heroes had plenty of amazing opportunities to come together, make connections, and enjoy themselves in the great outdoors. We also had many phenomenal fundraisers take place during August and September thanks to the remarkable efforts of so many selfless friends and supporters of the Foundation. In fact, this month's Spotlight Feature introduces you to one of our incredible supporters and shows you how one person can truly make a big difference. We encourage to read all about our events, fundraisers, and more, and ask you to share this newsletter with your own friends, colleagues, and family. As always, we appreciate your tremendous support and thank you for helping us accomplish our mission of honoring and serving America's combat-wounded Purple Heart Heroes. 💜


Events and Fundraisers


  11th Annual Lake Erie Trophy Walleye Fishing

    August 5-8  Ashtabula, OH

Twelve of our Warriors arrived to a Hero's welcome, as the town of Ashtabula, Ohio greeted them with a police escort and a motorcycle convoy courtesy of the American Legion Riders, as grateful members of the community thanked them for their service and sacrifice. Everyone drove to the local American Legion Dewey Howlett Post #103, which had a fire engine with a huge American flag hanging from the extended ladder over the entrance as they arrived. It was quite a humbling sight, and our Heroes truly appreciated the outpouring of love and support from the community. Everyone was led into the American Legion single-file with the Vietnam Veterans leading the way, as each veteran was saluted as they entered. This was a great time of fellowship as members of the community were able to meet and greet our Heroes. A delicious steak dinner was served with a variety of sides and deserts. After such an exceptional first day, the evening ended with our Heroes hanging out around the campfire getting to know each other a bit better. 

Everyone woke early the next morning, ate breakfast, and loaded the boats in anticipation of a great day on the lake. The fishing on Lake Erie is some of the best around and this year was no exception as lines were cast and catches were on the hooks all day long! Most boats caught their limits and our Heroes raved about what an amazing time on the water they all had. Boats returned to the marina in the afternoon, the fish were offloaded, and everyone was taught how to clean them properly. An assembly line was started, so the tremendous number of fish could be prepared. The evening ended with an awesome fish fry and everyone sharing laughs and stories. 

The following day, everyone got out early for another exciting day on the water. Fishing was just as good as the first day, and our Heroes were amazed at the bounty of fish caught and the wonderful time they all had on Lake Erie. Later that evening, everyone gathered back at Kister Campground and Marina to enjoy a hearty and delicious BBQ cookout. There was a spectacular dinner and closing ceremony on the final evening for our Warriors, and each of them returned home with a cooler full of fish, but more importantly with new friendships and treasured memories of their time in Ohio. Our gratitude and appreciation to Hosts Bill and Diane Miller, Larry Fielder, Dave Conant, and to the incredible Team Erie, and all the tremendous volunteers, supporters, and local community for another spectacular event. The care and honor given toward our Heroes each year at this event is absolutely superb! Special thanks to WWIA Guides Jon French and Tim Spence for their tremendous support and leadership throughout this four-day event. 

"This event was incredible. Team Erie volunteers and Captains really understand veterans. I thought it was pretty cool how they knew without meeting me that I would be as independent as possible before asking for help. That alone made me comfortable enough to ask for help when I needed it. They even knew I would need a shower chair without ever asking. This group is very experienced with helping disabled vets and you immediately feel comfortable around them. They also set up the event in a way that you don’t have awkward down time. The schedule is well planned, and I never felt anxiety about how the day would go. I had an amazing time out fishing and meeting new people. I am generally a socially quiet guy. I was more open this weekend around strangers than usual. What a great time. Thank you!"


 6th Annual Saltgrass Red Fishing

 August 12-15  Buras, LA

Four of our Purple Heart recipients traveled to the Louisiana Bayou for a memorable and exciting time at the 6th Annual Saltgrass Lodge Red Fishing Event in Buras, LA. After getting settled into their accommodations, our Heroes were welcomed with a wonderful dinner, were introduced to their guides, and received a briefing for the next day's fishing itinerary. The remainder of the evening was spent relaxing and allowing everyone to get acquainted. 

The following day, our Heroes had a quick yet delicious breakfast and were in their boats before sunrise. Fishing in this area of Louisiana is simply exceptional, and there were plenty of fish caught early, including redfish, trout and sheepshead. After a great start to their fishing excursion, everyone headed back to the lodge for a delicious dinner courtesy of Host, Raymond Schmitt, while reminiscing about a remarkable day on the water and a great start to their trip. 

The next morning, our Heroes were back at it early and hauled in a plethora of redfish, speckled trout, and sheepshead throughout the afternoon. Upon return, all catches were cleaned, bagged, and frozen. For dinner, everyone feasted on an incredible shrimp boil and finished it off with some homemade bread pudding for dessert. Our Heroes thoroughly enjoyed their time at Saltgrass Lodge as the food, accommodations, and fishing were first-class all the way. They returned home with lots of new memories, solid friendships, and coolers full of fish. We extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to Host Raymond Schmitt and Co-Host Audie Murphy for their outstanding efforts in providing this unique and well-loved event for our Heroes over the past six years. Special recognition and thanks to the skillful boat guides, Capt. Raymond Schmitt, Capt. Ike Schmitt, Capt. Michael “Chief” Duke, Capt. Ryan Arceneaux, and to Pamela Fields and the wonderful and accommodating staff at Saltgrass Lodge for their hospitality and care.  Additional thanks to Joan Murphy, Terry Taylor, Dave Cavanaugh, and Daniel Murphy for their event support, and to everyone who made this event possible through their generosity and patriotism. Our appreciation and gratitude to WWIA Guide Derek Duplisea for his support and coordination throughout this four-day event.

"I wish that I would have found out about this awesome program earlier. The camaraderie, care, and love that the WWIA team provided was second to none. Every need was taken care of, I didn’t have to ask for anything. The communication was very good for us Warriors. I wish more people would donate to this program. It helped me out immensely being able to discuss what happened to me with others who have been through the same hell I went through. It is a must that we get together like this for healing, so that we know we are not alone. This trip helped me in ways I cannot explain. Thank you for including me in this, I am going home a better person because of this weekend. Thank you."


3rd Annual Wisconsin Heroes Northland Experience Black Bear Hunt

September 7-12  Iron River, Wisconsin

The 3rd Annual Wisconsin Heroes Northland Experience Black Bear Hunt welcomed two of our Heroes to Iron River, WI for six days of outstanding hunting and camaraderie in the Northwoods. The delicious home-cooked meals, top-notch accommodations, and the relaxed atmosphere made it easy for our Heroes to get away and enjoy themselves. The excitement and anticipation of the hunt were palpable, and it didn't take long for our Heroes to get on the board as there was plenty of bear activity and two bears were harvested over the first two days. Their time in the field was second-to-none, but the bonds and camaraderie formed at this event were easily the highlight of the trip. Our Heroes not only enjoyed getting to know one another, but the opportunity to connect with the Hosts and the local community was truly appreciated. A great example of the community appreciation and involvement was having our Heroes honored at Botten Green Acres Golf Course for a wonderful breakfast and at the local Iron River VFW #10197 for a delicious fish fry. These were both highly appreciated by our Heroes and a great time of fellowship and fun for everyone involved. As a bonus, this trip also allowed our Warriors to enjoy a day out on Eau Claire Lake, catching large and small mouth bass, rock bass, and blue gill before heading back for dinner and relaxing around the bonfire at Brad and Mara Bourassa's house while sharing plenty of stories and laughs. This event checked all the boxes for relaxing, restoring, and connecting with like-minded people who have now become friends. None of this would be possible without our amazing longtime WWIA supporters and event Hosts, Dan and Nancy Bourassa. Our gratitude and thanks to them for proudly hosting our Heroes and for continuing to raise the bar year after year. This stellar event was also made possible as a result of the generosity and hard work of so many tremendous donors and supporters. We salute Thomas Flynn, Patrick Vogel, and Clarence Gollhardt for obtaining and donating bear tags for our Heroes. Special thanks to Jim Totka, Hursh MeatsHornady Ammunition, John Adams and Natural GearRat's Bear Bait, and  Weister Custom Weaponry. Additional recognition and thanks to WWIA Guide Jason Gaudette for his outstanding support and care throughout the event. 

"I want to tell you how thankful I am that you let me be a part of this great Organization and how thankful I am that I got to meet Jason and Nancy and all the Jim's and Dan’s, they were all great. Hostess, Nancy was a wonderful cook, I am sure I gained 10 pounds. This was a great trip, relaxing, fun and I got a bear. I haven’t slept that good in years. This exceeded my expectations by 100%, the people and the food were great, and I got to kill a bear which was a bucket list thing for me. I harvested a 191-pound black bear. These are great people. I really needed this. I am forever in debt to you, if you need something from me, let me know. Thank you again." 

4th Annual Camp Hackett Black Bear Hunt

September 7-12  Phillips, WI

Three of our Purple Heart Heroes gathered at WWIA's Northern Healing Center, Camp Hackett in Phillips, Wisconsin to take part in six days of world-class hunting, camaraderie, and fun at the 4th Annual Camp Hackett Black Bear Hunt. Camp Hackett offers remarkable opportunities for hunting a variety of game animals spread across 410 bountiful acres of private land. Once everyone was settled in, they were given a safety briefing by Event Leader, Colonel (Retired) Arthur Kandarian that also covered information about the property and the upcoming bear hunt. They spent time zeroing their rifles and got in a quick evening hunt. Although they allotted four and a half days for bear hunting, Camp Hackett is prime habitat for black bear and each of the Heroes harvested bears within their first day.

As remarkable as the hunting was, our Heroes thoroughly enjoyed their time in Wisconsin as it provided them with some well-deserved time away from the stresses of everyday life and helped them build rapport with one another over meals and shared experiences. When they weren't in the field or on the water, they got in some pistol shooting at camp, learned Wisconsin bar dice from Dave and Nathan Hintz, took an informative tour at the National Fresh Water Fishing Museum, went behind the scenes at the St. Croix Rod factory, watched a Green Bay Packers game at Crane Chase Tavern, and got in some golf at the Westwood Golf Course and the Sandtrap Bar and Grill. There was also a delicious fish fry at the William's Farm where everyone feasted on catfish and salmon, and a wonderful chicken and grouse marseille dinner hosted by Tom Schenk of Chippewa River Custom Rods. The people and businesses of Phillips and the Northwoods are phenomenal and have truly embraced WWIA throughout the years, partnering with us in our mission to serve, honor, and change the lives of our Heroes. We are grateful and humbled by their patriotism and support.

Our sincere thanks to Arthur Kandarian for his leadership, outstanding coordination, and care of our Heroes. This event would not be possible without the stellar support of the following: Dave Hintz and his amazing Hides for Heroes team, Battle Born BatteriesDragonfly EnergyThe Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and to Mike and Joan Reed for their tremendous support and dedication over the years, and for donating this year's bear bait. Additional thanks to Jeff and Casey Williams and the staff of Knock 'Em Stiff Outfitters, Keith Bogdanovic, Bob Bolz, Bernie Luedtke of Seed N Feed Store, Don and Isaac Angelo, John Carlson, and Don Hansen. Special recognition and appreciation to Casey Williams and Jeff Schillinger for donating bear tags to our Heroes, and to Bob Bolz for helping secure those tags. Our appreciation to everyone involved for their combined efforts in making this event so successful and memorable for our combat-wounded veterans. High praise to WWIA Guide Derek VanBuren for his exceptional support and efforts throughout the event.

"The Camp Hackett Bear Hunt was incredible! Two hours after getting off the plane, I was in the stand hunting. After only one hour, bear down! The Host, Event Leader, WWIA Guide and the tons of other supporters were outstanding. This was a trip of a lifetime. The wonderful locals of Phillips, WI were some of the nicest people I have ever met. I was very lucky and grateful for having this hunt. Truly a lifetime experience. Thanks to all of you at WWIA for making this happen."


4th Annual New Hampshire Bear and Bass

September 8-12  Grafton, NH

Three of our combat-wounded Heroes recently traveled to Grafton, New Hampshire for the 4th Annual New Hampshire Bear and Bass Event. Once everyone was settled into their accommodations at the hunting lodge, they were given a safety briefing and spent some time on the shooting range zeroing their rifles. They headed out for an evening hunt and found early success as a nice black bear was harvested. Our Heroes enjoyed their hunts over the following days in the pristine wilderness of New Hampshire. Their time on the water was equally enjoyable as they were able to bring in some nice catches. This event truly epitomized the meaning of "getting away" from the hustle of everyday life and allowed these combat-wounded veterans the space and time they needed to connect, recharge, and form bonds with their brothers. The food throughout the event was wonderful and plentiful, such as the steak and lobster expertly prepared courtesy of camp chef John Nuggent. 

Each Hero left New Hampshire with tremendous gratitude, new friendships, and a lifetime of memories. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Host Roy Holland and his phenomenal friends and supporters for making this already amazing event even better. Special thanks to the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, the New Hampshire Veterans Association, Carl Pellerin, John Nuggent, Enfield Fire Fighters Association, Russell Poitras, Daniel Bowlan, Tim Howlett, and Kim Withrow. High gratitude and appreciation to WWIA Guide Asa Barrett for his assistance and attention to our Heroes during their stay. 

"This was an awesome experience. It was amazing to get to know the guys, Asa, Tim, Roy, John and all of the rest. The food was delicious, and I was never hungry. I want to thank Sandy for the amazing whoopie pies ( I ate like 13 of them). It was a real surprise and a treat to get to eat lobster and steak. I ate way too much and couldn’t be happier. Hanging out, talking through some tough stuff and processing it while away from everything and out in the beautiful woods free from pressure was very healing and restorative. I’ve never hunted before and loved it. They did a great job making sure I was prepared and ready. I didn’t get a bear but that is okay because I got so much more instead. The experience was once in a lifetime and I will cherish it always. I made good friends with great guys.
Thank you for everything and I am hooked on hunting now."


9th Annual Central Pennsylvania Cast & Blast 

September 15-19   Rebersburg, PA

Ten of our Heroes gathered in Rebersburg, Pennsylvania for an exciting and memorable time at the 9th Annual Central PA Cast & Blast. This longstanding and stellar event provided exceptional opportunities for our Heroes to take in some amazing bird shooting and spectacular trout fishing while connecting with fellow Purple Heart recipients over five days. After everyone arrived and got settled, they enjoyed an evening of food and fellowship as they were treated to delicious wood fire brick oven pizzas courtesy of Pappas Pies. Sitting around the campfire sharing stories and laughs was the perfect way to kick off the trip. 

The next morning began with a delicious breakfast, some trap shooting, and an amazing historical military weapons course. The Heroes loved learning about the history of different weapons and had the opportunity to live fire some of them, such as an AK-47, an M-1 Garand, a .300 blackout suppressed, and a Mauser among others. After a hearty lunch of pork sandwiches from Scott's Roasting, they spent time getting fly casting lessons and then were treated to an outstanding wildlife tour at Penn's Cave as they learned about and observed a variety of animals, including elk, bison, bears, whitetail deer, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions and more. Special thanks to the Schleiden Family for honoring our Heroes with this unique tour. After returning to camp everyone enjoyed a wonderful spaghetti dinner with meatballs and sausage generously provided by Delgrosso's and Hormel and garlic bread courtesy of Pacifico Bakery while enjoying live music courtesy of Sgt. Bob

The following day, our Heroes hit the fields early to get in some amazing pheasant and chukar hunting. Everyone had a tremendous time with lots of birds flushed and 39 birds harvested. After an exceptional morning of hunting, our Heroes had a wonderful lunch consisting of venison sloppy joes. After lunch, everyone was shown how to properly clean their harvested birds so they could be prepared for later that evening. They returned to Penn's Cave for some exceptional fly-fishing. There were plenty of smiles amongst the Heroes as they caught plenty of massive trout. Dinner that evening was a charcuterie board, pheasant poppers with bourbon whiskey sauce, mushroom soup, BBQ brisket, and a low country boil, accompanied by more live musical entertainment by Matt Miskie. Everyone raved about the dinner, then relaxed while watching college football, sitting around the campfire, enjoying cigars, and reminiscing about the day's events. 

The last day of the event, our Heroes were able to hit the fields again, harvesting another 34 birds before venturing back out to Penn's Cave to catch some more monster trout. The final evening was filled with great conversation over a dinner courtesy of Honeybaked Ham. Our Heroes time in Pennsylvania was special, and everyone went home with treasured memories, new friendships, a cooler full of pheasant meat, and some grilled stickies to boot! This is truly a community event and combat-wounded Warriors were honored and revered throughout their stay for their tremendous service and sacrifice to our country. This event would not have been possible were it not for the patriotic support of the businesses and donors of the Centre Region. Recognition and thanks to U.S. Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson for graciously honoring our Heroes with certificates of appreciation for their service accompanied by commemorative flags that were previously flown over the U.S. Capitol. Our gratitude to Trina, Gary, Bill, Greg, Kurt, and Courtney for sharing their culinary expertise, to Collegiate Pride for the incredible shirts, to Nittany BeverageStraub BreweryW.R. Hickey & Sons, and Dietz & Watson for their contributions and continued dedication. High praise and appreciation to Gravel Spring Lodge, the American Legion Post 779Sons of the American Legion Post 779, and Smith-Sweetwood Post VFW Post 9575 for their generosity and support. Special thanks to Host Sandy Deveney and his remarkable team for another spectacular event and for serving and honoring our Heroes throughout the past nine years. High praise to WWIA Guides Matt Brannon and Lead Associate Joshua Wilson for their hard work and expertise from touchdown to takeoff.   

"This event has truly brought me to a better place. I have struggled over the past few years and rarely have the opportunity to let down my guard and speak freely with others. This event has allowed me to spend time with quality men and the hunting and fishing was a huge stress reliever. WWIA has put together a life changing event for me and I am sure others. I am honored to have been selected to experience such a great event with such good people. This has truly recharged my batteries and will always be great memories for me to revisit when I need to reflect on good
thoughts! Thank you so  much!"


8th Annual Eagle River Muskie Chal-Lunge

September 22-25   Eagle River, WI

Ten of our Heroes traveled to Wisconsin to enjoy four days of relaxation, fun, and fellowship at the 8th Annual Eagle River Muskie Chal-Lunge. Our Heroes were welcomed with open arms by the incredible community of Eagle River and spent the first evening getting to know the hosts, fishing guides, community members, event sponsors, and their fishing guides over a wonderful buffet style dinner. They were also presented with an assortment of fishing gear, a custom rod, lures, tackle, fishing reels and rain gear provided by local sponsors. Each Warrior received a beautiful hand-drawn card from local elementary school children, thanking them and wishing them luck during their event. It was a humbling and gracious welcome and our Heroes were incredibly moved by the kind gestures and patriotism of the local community.

Eagle River is known for its world-class muskie fishing, and our Heroes were primed and ready as they hit the water over the next few days in search of the elusive and hard-fighting muskie. They would not be disappointed as they were blessed with some exceptional catches. They were also privileged to spend time fishing with National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Legendary Angler, Joe Bucher. Joe graciously spent time with each Hero giving them personal instruction and tips for successful muskie fishing. The food, camaraderie, and friendships throughout this excursion were second-to-none. On the final night of the event, our Heroes were also honored with an incredible banquet in their honor at the local VFW Post #8637, where they enjoyed a delicious chicken and prime rib dinner. They were also presented with beautiful commemorative plaques, gorgeous handmade quilts by the Northwoods Quilters, and were able to acknowledge and thank the outstanding community members, volunteers, and sponsors who worked hard to make this event possible. High praise and appreciation to the generous event sponsors for their faithful support, and to the extraordinary fishing guides that skillfully led our Heroes: Joe Bucher, Bill Jacobs, Bob Jacobs, Andy Hendrickson, Lou Dreger, Jay Hollnagel, Chas Martin, Justin Reynolds, and Jason Jacobs. Special recognition and thanks to Host Scott Samuels for his tremendous efforts and dedication to making this event so spectacular year after year. Our gratitude to WWIA Guide Matt Phillips and WWIA Lead Associate Greg Brazinsky for their coordination and care throughout this event.

"It has been an honor to spend time with this community. They came together to put on a world class event here in Eagle River! I learned so much about fishing from my guide, Louie that I can take with me. It has been a very touching experience to see so many people that just wanted to spend time with us. Their generosity was more than I can describe. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I will be leaving here with a refreshed mindset and never will forget the wonderful people here at Eagle River. Thank you!"


12th Annual New York Upland Bird Hunt & Couples Retreat

September 23-26  Palmyra, NY

Three of our Heroes and their spouses were recently honored and celebrated at the 12th Annual NY Upland Bird Hunt and Couples Retreat in Palmyra, New York. Once everyone settled in, they were given a tour of the property and treated to a wonderful catered dinner while conversing and getting to know one another. The next day, our men took in some first-class guided pheasant hunting at the Bear Hill Farm and Hunt Club while their spouses enjoyed a wonderful Keuka Lake (one of the Finger Lakes) wine tour and had a delicious dinner at the Bully Hill Vineyards.

Over the course of four days, our couples had time to relax, form new friendships, and eat outstanding food during this memorable getaway. These couples were honored by the local community throughout this event and had a wonderful group dinner on the final evening of the event. Each couple went home with a cooler full of pheasants and a handful of recipes to enjoy their harvested birds. We would like to recognize and show our appreciation to Mary Lou Reisdorf and her amazing community of friends, volunteers, donors and sponsors for hosting our couples at this outstanding event. We would like to also thank the following individuals and businesses for their tremendous dedication and support: David Merow, Guy Slack and Inland Waters Trap League, Kevin and Barb Heald from Twilight on the Erie RV Resort, Tom and Moreen Dennison, American Legion Post 1977American Legion Post 428VFW Post 2246NY State Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Rick Falcone, Gary and Penny Shaw, Jamie Linder (dog handler), John and Mary Nolander, Scott MacGregor (dog handler), Charles Luffman (graciously donating pheasants for the hunt), Shawn and Christie Ingram, Jerry and Nancy Lamb, Pat and Janice Skelly, and Ken and Donna Vowell. Special recognition to WWIA Associate Milt Yagel for his dedication and contributions throughout the retreat.  

"Jaime and I would like to thank you, Milt, Rick, Sean, Christine, the two dog handlers, Scott and Hudson’s Dad, Aldo and the new puppy, and all the volunteers that made this awesome weekend with WWIA happen. Ms. Lou, you are an amazing person. We enjoyed everything this weekend. We enjoyed going to lunch with you, the hunting, the spa, and the community dinner. We really enjoyed your property; it is very beautiful. We really enjoyed meeting the other couples, other Purple Heart recipients and talking to them, listening to their stories, learning about where they are from. I have never upland bird hunted before and it was an amazing experience. Jaime really enjoyed the spa."


Whitetails Unlimited Dinner Banquet Event

May 27-30   St. Joseph, MO

Thank you to Whitetails Unlimited Official for their incredibly generous donation of $6,819.56 to WWIA. This donation was raised from a Whitetails Unlimited banquet dinner held in May and the donation will be split equally between two local WWIA Wisconsin events, the 3rd Annual Heroes Northland Experience Bear Hunt, and the 10th Annual Bayfield Cast & Blast. Whitetails Unlimited is the nation's premiere organization for the betterment of whitetail deer and their environment. They have been an outstanding supporter of WWIA over the years and we appreciate their generosity, patriotism, and support of our combat-wounded veterans.


Sidestreet Saloon Poker Run

July 9  Iron River, WI

Please join us in offering our gratitude and appreciation to the Sidestreet Saloon in Iron River, Wisconsin. The Sidestreet Saloon hosted an outstanding Poker Run fundraiser on behalf of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes. A total of $2,170.00 was generously raised from this Poker Run event and will go to support the local 3rd Annual Heroes Northland Experience Black Bear Hunt. Thank you to the owners and staff of the Sidestreet Saloon and to everyone who came out to have a great time while helping support our combat-wounded veterans! 


WWIA FLX Chapter Motorcycle Ride 

August 6  Ovid, NY

The WWIA FLX Chapter Motorcycle Ride rolled out in support of our Purple Heart Heroes on August 6th, 2022 at the VFW Post 6200 in Ovid, New York. This awesome event featured 3 different local motorcycle clubs, most of them veterans, and included an enjoyable 100-mile ride. Approximately $3,000 was graciously raised from this ride and will directly benefit the WWIA Finger Lakes Chapter in support of their upcoming 9th Annual Kuneytown FLX Ducks & Bucks Hunt. The motorcycle clubs that attended this fundraiser are amazing Patriots, and each year they show up in tremendous numbers to welcome our Heroes to the annual Kuneytown FLX Ducks and Bucks Event with an amazing motorcycle escort in their honor to show their gratitude for their service and sacrifice. It's an amazing gesture that is highly appreciated and quite moving for our combat-wounded veterans. This motorcycle ride is one of many events that the WWIA FLX Chapter hosts each year in their goal to be fully funded and beyond, so they can effectively serve and accomplish WWIA's mission to bring Honor, Connection, and Healing to our tremendous Purple Heart Heroes. Our sincere appreciation to the VFW Post 6200, to the Kuneytown Sportsmens Club, to the attending motorcycle clubs, and to the incredible local residents and businesses that came out to show their support at this event, and for the past 9 years that this event has proudly served our Heroes. We are humbled and honored by your generosity and partnership. Thank you!


Purple Heart Day

August 7

The Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA) recognized Purple Heart Day on August 7th and proudly honors all combat-wounded Purple Heart Heroes who have served and sacrificed on behalf of our country. The Purple Heart award is America's oldest military decoration, established by General George Washington as the Badge of Military Merit. The modern Purple Heart Medal was commissioned on February 22, 1932, by General Order #3, signed by General Douglas MacArthur. Currently, the Purple Heart, per regulation is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded, killed, or has died after being wounded by enemy action. Learn more about this special day and the history of the Purple Heart by clicking here. 💜


1st Annual Buskey Bay Resort Musky Tournament

August 27   Iron River, WI

The 1st Annual Buskey Bay Resort musky tournament to support the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation Bayfield Cast & Blast is in the books! It was an awesome success with 12 boats and a remarkable fish winning the tournament! A total of $1,929 was raised for WWIA and will go to support the local Annual Bayfield Cast & Blast event, which is celebrating a decade of serving and honoring our combat-wounded veterans. Congratulation to Josh Teigen for his outstanding 1st place win, a 47" giant that hit the net at 6:30 AM during the major. Norm Jr. Holt took 2nd place with a solid 37" fish. It was an awesome day of fishing and a good time was had by all! High praise and appreciation to Dave Brown of Bait Rigs Tackle Company for graciously donating Whale Tails. Additional thanks and recognition to Russ Darwin and The Switch for performing an awesome show that everyone raved about! Gratitude and thanks to all of the amazing sponsors and the twenty-four fishermen and women who participated in this inaugural fishing tournament to help support a great cause. We hope to see you all again next year!  🎣🐟


8th Annual WWIA Wisconsin Golf Tournament

September 3   Botten's Green Acres Golf Course

The 8th Annual Wisconsin Golf Tournament held Botten's Green Acres Golf Course teed off on September 3rd and was another HUGE success! They set a new record this year with 97 golfers! The weather was picture-perfect for our golfers, and we appreciate the tremendous support from our local community who came out to enjoy the food and fellowship and place bids for some of our amazing auction items. This year's collective tournament efforts raised a phenomenal $14,802.00! Special recognition and thanks to Nancy and Dan Bourassa for their outstanding coordination and hard work on this event year after year! A BIG shout out to those that helped us make this fundraiser so successful: the Botten Family and their employees for always making things work so smoothly, Brad Bourassa for cooking the brats and burgers, to Laura Sipperley and Sheryl Kyle for helping organize and run everything the day of the event, and additional thanks to Tom and Sue Johnson for overseeing hole 3 for the hole-in-one opportunity. There is a ton of work that goes into planning an event like this, and it was only possible due to the tremendous efforts of an incredibly patriotic local community. Our sincere thanks and gratitude to all of our amazing sponsors (for a full list of sponsors, click here). Additional thanks to all of the participants, volunteers, and to everyone who came out to enjoy this special day and help support WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes! ⛳🏌️‍♂️


59th Annual 2022 South Dakota Trappers Fall Rendezvous

September 9-10  Winner, SD

Please join us in recognizing and thanking the South Dakota Trappers Association (SDTA). They held their 59th Annual 2022 South Dakota Trappers Fall Rendezvous this past weekend (September 9th-10th) in Winner, SD. WWIA’s Logistics Coordinator, Corrina Hart was honored to be invited to attend and represent the Foundation at this outstanding event. This two-day event was full of informative training classes and demonstrations, featured a variety of vendors, lots of outstanding food, and fun. The first day of the Convention, they proudly hosted 360 Winner Elementary students who had a wonderful time talking to the educators, learning about trapping, tanning, and a variety of other interesting things. The convention was attended by some of the most patriotic American outdoorsmen and women you’ll ever meet! A 50/50 fundraising raffle was held, and the winner, Sandy Steck generously donated $100.00 back to WWIA! Some additional individual donations were also made, for a total donation of just over $600.00 in support of WWIA. Incredible! ⠀

The South Dakota Trappers Association is dedicated to preserving trapping, promoting trapping, providing trappers education, and serving as an overall advocate for trapping. They have been faithful supporters of the Foundation and have helped educate WWIA Guides at our official Guide School. Our sincere gratitude and thanks to the SDTA Board of Directors and to SDTA President, John Hopple and his entire team for inviting WWIA to attend and share in this wonderful weekend. We also salute the SDTA for being preeminent outdoor trapping educators and conservationists, and for their tremendous support of WWIA and our combat-wounded veterans.💜


The Bob Lord Veterans Annual Golf Outing

September 19  Indian Valley Country Club  Telford, PA

Our gratitude and thanks to The Bob Lord Veterans Annual Golf Outing for their incredibly generous donation of $10,000 to WWIA. This outstanding annual golf tournament has been helping bring awareness and support to veterans for over 16 years. Graciously hosted by Mr. Bob Lord, a combat-wounded Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart recipient, this event brings in over 100 golfers, civilians, and volunteers for a great time and a great cause. WWIA is humbled to have been chosen as a recipient of this long-standing charitable golf tournament. High praise and appreciation to Bob Lord, Ryan Cantwell, John Choyka, Dave Bradley, and the Indian Valley Country Club. Additional thanks to all the amazing volunteers, organizers, generous sponsors, and the teams and players who participated. Thank you once again for your tremendous support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes.⛳🏌️‍♂️ 


WWIA Southern Vermont Chapter Annual Banquet Dinner

September 17  Bennington, VT   


WOW! They did it again! Please join us in congratulating and thanking the WWIA Southern Vermont Chapter and the amazing community members and businesses who came together this weekend to raise a remarkable $60,400 for our Purple Heart Heroes! WWIA Founder and CEO, John McDaniel was honored to be present and share in this special evening with so many exceptional supporters and friends. The Southern Vermont Chapter continues to raise the bar year after year through the generosity and dedication of so many wonderful and generous people. With this year's remarkable fundraising effort, the Southern Vermont Chapter has now raised over $377,000 collectively in support of WWIA. We are humbled and honored by such a tremendous outpouring of support and selflessness from these incredible American Patriots. What an astounding accomplishment! A HUGE THANK YOU to Mike and Debbie Davenport for their tremendous work and coordination in making these annual fundraisers so immensely successful. In addition, we would like to thank all of this year's sponsors, donors, attendees, and volunteers for continuing to go above and beyond to support WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes! You all are AMAZING! 💜


Mississippi End of Summer BBQ Cook-Off & Concert at the Park Fundraiser

September 24   Ocean Springs, MS

Through the combined efforts and selfless generosity of local businesses & restaurants in the community of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the Inaugural “End of Summer BBQ Cook-off & Concert” at the park festival was a rousing success. This fundraising event took place September 24th at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park and helped honor and bring greater recognition to the mission of the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA). WWIA's own Corrina Hart was honored to be in attendance for this event that featured 20 BBQ cooking teams offering a variety of BBQ beef, pork, and chicken, including five coastal BBQ restaurants that competed in a delicious brisket competition. Live musical entertainment was also enjoyed throughout the day, courtesy of the City of Pascagoula. There were also over 30 local vendors, a beer garden, including all you can eat BBQ. All proceeds from this fundraising event will benefit WWIA as well as the following local service organizations: The Lord Is My Help -Ocean SpringsThe Dream Program, and the Jackson County Animal Shelter. Additional funds from this event will also be used toward a Christmas fund to help purchase toys and bicycles for children in need. Over $9,000 was raised and donated to WWIA to help support our mission of bringing Honor, Connection, and Healing to our combat-wounded Purple Heart Recipients. We are truly humbled and grateful for the generosity and patriotism of the local government, businesses, and individuals who made this possible. Thank you for standing with us and honoring our Heroes!

Tremendous gratitude and thanks to event organizer and annual WWIA event Host, Roy McKenzie (4-Bulls Butcher Shop & Deli) along with longtime local businessman and events coordinator, Tim Wold, for their incredible efforts in making this inaugural fundraiser such an outstanding success. Additional recognition and thanks to the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism BureauOcean Springs Fire DepartmentOcean Springs Police Department, Troy Ross, Jackson County Supervisor and the Master of Ceremonies, Representative Hank Zuber, Ocean Springs Municipal Court Judge Calvin Taylor. This event would not have been possible without the remarkable participation and support from the local business community. Thank you to the following sponsors and supporters: Daryl Lies of Douglas Sportsman & Gaming, FEB DistributingVal’s BarAllen Beverages (Pepsi-Cola), Robert Blackman, Board Member Alderman Ward 5, Sandbar Beach Ale4-Bulls Butcher Shop & DeliKrause's Markets North Dakota, Cheli Strumila of the Coast ObserverQuality Seafood, Elmer Joseph Grant, Shane Tiner, Sera Buras, The Chitling's, Pleasants, Fat Bottom BBQThe Shed BBQMurky Waters Blues n’ BBQTay’s BarbequeCommunity Bank Ocean SpringsComeback CoolersThe Juke JointWeichert Realtors, Shannon and Brenda Staehr, Taylor & Cox Law FirmGreen Mountain Grills, & Kingsford CharcoalVFW Post 3373 (trophies), Overwatch Supplies (trophies), the Ardis Family (trophies), Woody’s Roadside Restaurant and owner, Jeff Glouner, who was also the events Presenting Sponsor. Special thanks to all the vendors, cook-masters, and to everyone who took time to come out and support this wonderful event for some amazing causes. We look forward to seeing you next year!


Welcome to Our Newest Member of the WWIA Board of Directors

Please join us in welcoming our newest member of the WWIA Board of Directors, Major General, U.S. Army (Retired) Douglas Crissman. He has had a remarkable and distinguished career and we thank him for his outstanding service to our country. We are honored and humbled to have Doug share his knowledge, leadership, and vast experiences with our team. Please read his bio below to learn more about him and help us formally welcome him aboard!
Doug served more than 33 years in the Army retiring as a Major General in 2021. He was fortunate to lead teams up through the 2-star level including both a battalion and a brigade during combat operations. As a career infantryman, Doug’s assignments allowed him to serve in five of the Army’s now twelve active Divisions throughout the United States and Europe.
In addition to these operational assignments, Doug earned a master’s degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia, taught on the faculty at West Point, served two tours in the Pentagon, and was the senior U.S. Army officer assigned to the British Army.
An Eagle Scout, former Scoutmaster and avid outdoorsman, Doug enjoys hunting, hiking, and backpacking and recently completed several hundred miles on the Appalachian Trail.
Since retiring from the Army, Doug divides his time and energy between helping to raise the next generation of Army leaders as an Army Senior Mentor, providing corporate leadership development to Fortune 500 companies as a Senior Advisor with Thayer Leadership, strategic advising as an independent consultant, and sharing his passion for the outdoors as an Assistant Manager for an outdoor gear store in Northern Virginia where he now resides.
Though he only recently joined our Board of Directors, Doug has been involved with the growth and development of the Foundation since its inception in 2007 and looks forward to helping guide it’s continued progression to Honor, Connect, and Heal our Nation’s combat-wounded, Purple Heart recipients.


Help Support WWIA and our Heroes With Your CFC Pledge

We promote healing and restoration in our Heroes by sending them on all-expense-paid world-class outdoor adventures where they can connect with nature, with other Purple Heart recipients, and with caring communities. Will you join us in our mission to serve and honor these brave combat-wounded Heroes? Federal retirees and federal contractors can make pledges as well! Please consider making a pledge to WWIA this CFC season. To sign up and donate, scan the QR Code in the picture, or simply click here. Our CFC number is 94512. We thank you in advance for your outstanding support of WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes!


WWIA August/September Spotlight

For our August/September Supporter Spotlight, we are honored to introduce you to Mr. John Everett. John has been an integral part of WWIA's Team Erie in Ashtabula, Ohio. John and Team Erie have been proudly serving and honoring our Heroes with the Lake Erie Trophy Walleye Fishing Event for the past eleven years. We appreciate John taking time to share his thoughts and experiences about WWIA and we hope you enjoy getting to know our valued friend and supporter. 

John, can you please give us a brief introduction and tell us a little about yourself?

Hello! My name is John Everett and I have been married to my loving and supportive wife, Jeanne for 43 years. We have two grown children (along with their spouses) and three grandchildren. I enjoy fishing, boating, camping, and especially spending time with my family. 

How did you first get involved with WWIA? 

I first became involved with WWIA ten years ago when my good friend and fishing buddy (also a leader for Team Erie at the time) shared his experiences with me about the Foundation. The Lake Erie Trophy Walleye Fishing Event is held annually, each August, and proudly hosts combat-wounded Purple Heart Heroes to enjoy an all-expense paid (including travel, food, accommodations, and more) world-class walleye fishing weekend! I began helping with this event at the campground, cleaning fish in addition to organizing a yearly raffle each July. This raffle helps raise money directly for this event.

What has been the biggest benefit for you since becoming involved with WWIA and being part of the Lake Erie Trophy Walleye Fishing Event?

In regard to the events, I thoroughly enjoy seeing the expressions of joy on our Heroes faces as they reel in a huge walleye and forget about their problems, pains, and more, and truly enjoy themselves in the moment and throughout the weekend. The Heroes come into each event as strangers but form strong relationships on the water and around the dinner table. Seeing the camaraderie and new friendships that are made during an event is an indescribable joy and is truly heartwarming. 

The Lake Erie Trophy Walleye Fishing Event has a remarkable community of patriots, supporters, and donors who go above and beyond year after year to support WWIA and our Heroes. How have you been able to garner such tremendous community involvement and support?

This is my fifth year holding a benefit raffle for WWIA and Team Erie. I visit area businesses explaining the mission of WWIA and ask for donations for the raffle to garner support for the walleye event. With the help of our incredible volunteers working together and with the generosity and assistance from our community supporters, we are able to host a phenomenal event in honor of our Heroes. I am proud to say that as a result of our tremendous supporters, we raised $23,000 this year for WWIA and the Lake Erie event. 

What would you say to others who are considering getting involved with WWIA either as a Supporter or perhaps in some other capacity? 

This is one of the best organizations I have ever seen because the money actually goes to what it is intended for. WWIA's Founder and CEO, John McDaniel is a great man who's Foundation is helping meet the needs of our combat-wounded veterans. There is nothing quite like seeing the joy on the faces of our amazing Purple Heart Heroes. I encourage you to get involved, you won't regret it! 


Sponsors and Friends

We would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the following supporters for their gracious contributions and dedication to WWIA and our Heroes.



Sean Nichols $5,000

Colonel (Retired) Henly E. Reed Jr. $2,000

Daniel VanOoyen $1,000

Nelson Holt $1,000

Joe Herr $500 

16th Camp Hackett Events

Tom Hynek $500

Inaugural North Alabama Turkey Hunt 

Peter Gregerson $600

CVC Auto Sales $600

Marshall-Dekalb Elec Co-Op $500

Will Penton Agency LLC $500

Donations toward 4th Naples NY VFW Big Buck Hunt

James R. Moore VFW #8726 $3,000

4th New Hampshire Bear & Bass

New Hampshire Veterans' Association $1,500

Donations toward 9th Pennsylvania Cast & Blast

Post 779 American Legion $500

Donations toward 8th Eagle River Muskie Chal-Lunge

James & Shawn Stemper $2,500

Three Lakes Cheese Haus, LLC $1,200

Louis Mirek $1,000

Jeffrey Miller $1,000

Premier Powersports & Marine $1,000

VFW 8637 Canteen Account $800

American Legion Post 114 $800

J&Z Overhead Doors, Inc. $750

Muskies Inc. Northwoods Chapter $600

Nsight/Cellcom $600

Last Cast Outfitters, Inc. $500

Parsons of Eagle River $500

Catalyst Consulting Group $500

Boundary Waters Musky Club $500

Sweetwater Spirits & Resorts $500

Donations toward 11th Annual Lake Erie Trophy Walleye

AmVets Mentor Headlands Post #40 $5,000

Chuck & Vicki Stein $1,500

Geneva FOE Aerie 2243 $1,500

VFW of Ohio Charities $1,500

VFW Post 2595 $1,000

Best Buy $600

Knights of Columbus 947 $500

Nancy Kickbush $500

Libra Industries $500

Tecmark Corporation $500

  Captains Stadium $500

Donations toward 12th Annual Lake Erie Trophy Walleye

Frank Puskar $500


Gratitude & Thanks to Our Friends and Partners at

Please join us in recognizing and thanking our friends and partners at for their recent donation of $6,256.78 to WWIA. These amazing Purple Heart Patrons have donated an incredible $67,728.39 to WWIA and our Heroes since 2019 through their Freedom Fighter program. Incredible! When it comes time to order your ammunition, please consider ordering from Whenever you purchase your ammo from them, they graciously donate 1% of your entire purchase back to WWIA. All you have to do is select WWIA as your preferred “Freedom Fighter” option from the drop-down menu at checkout. And right now, you can also save $20 off any order of $200 or more! Simply go to to get started and find out more information. Our sincere thanks to for their tremendous support and to everyone who chose WWIA as their "Freedom Fighter" designation when ordering. We are honored by your generosity and partnership, and we applaud your outstanding patriotism!


 High Praise and Appreciation to HHA USA

Our gratitude and thanks to HHA USA for their incredibly generous donation of $6,000.00 to WWIA. This thoughtful donation was raised through HHA Sports, Inc. veterans/service members charitable organization, Operation HHAUSA, which hosts archery shoots across Wisconsin to benefit military/veteran organizations like WWIA, and to bring the archery and veteran communities together. HHA is a valued partner of WWIA because we both understand how life-changing and healing it is to get our veterans into the outdoors and to connect them with others. WWIA Founder and CEO, John McDaniel was honored to have been a guest on the HHAUSA Podcast, and if you haven't heard that episode yet, you can listen to it here:

HHAUSA also recently produced two powerful and impactful short films that encapsulates their mission, "to show appreciation and create a community for veterans and active military through archery and the outdoors." We encourage you to watch these outstanding videos here:

HHA Sports, Inc. has been leading the way in archery products & equipment for more than 35 years, producing the award-winning line of American-made Tetra and Optimizer bow sights as well as arrow rests, stabilizers, and other high-quality archery accessories. Learn more about HHA Sports, their products, and Operation HHAUSA by visiting

Our thanks again to Chris Hamm, President/CEO of HHA Sports and Founder of HHA USA, and the entire HHA Team for your outstanding patriotism and generosity! 


Recognition and Thanks to the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation for Their Outstanding Support

We would like to recognize and thank the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation for their incredibly gracious donation of $5,000 toward the 4th Annual New Hampshire Bear and Bass Event in Grafton, NH. They have been outstanding supporters of the Foundation, and their generosity and dedication to WWIA and our Heroes is exceptional. Thank you!


Thank You to Ojibwa Waters Vacation Rentals & Cranberry Lake Chalet for Your Tremendous Support 

Our gratitude and thanks to Ojibwa Waters Vacation Rentals and Cranberry Lake Chalet. They have been longtime and gracious supporters of WWIA and our Heroes, and recently made a generous donation of $5,000. This donation will go toward the local Eagle River Muskie Chal-Lunge Event. Thank you, Ojibwa Waters and Cranberry Lake Chalet, for your faithful support of the Foundation over the years.


Praise and Gratitude to Weil-Bohn

Charitable Fund for Your Dedication & Support

It is with tremendous gratitude and appreciation that we recognize and salute the Weil-Bohn Charitable Fund for their generous donation of $2,000 to WWIA. They have been a remarkable partner of the Foundation, helping us further our mission to bring healing and restoration to our combat-wounded Heroes. Thank you, Weil-Bohn Charitable Fund, for your outstanding support and dedication throughout the years to WWIA and our Heroes.


WWIA Founder and CEO, John McDaniel Featured on the DotCom Magazine Show with Andy Jacob

WWIA Founder and CEO, John McDaniel had the pleasure of being a featured guest on the DotCom Magazine Show with Andy Jacob. John and Andy discuss the history and mission of the Foundation, WWIA's world-class leading Guide School, how our services and events help bring Honor, Connection, and Healing to our combat-wounded veterans, and the power of being connected to others. It's a great interview that gives a powerful synopsis of who we are and why the work we are doing matters. We hope you enjoy it and would appreciate you sharing it with others. Click here to watch and listen to their interview. 🎙️


Coming Soon! The WWIA Podcast

We are excited to announce that we will be launching the all new WWIA Podcast January 2, 2023. hosted by WWIA Founder and CEO, John McDaniel. This podcast is a great way to stay connected, go behind the scenes, and learn more about the Foundation, our Heroes, Hosts, Supporters, Donors, and much more. It will also serve as another vehicle to help bring greater awareness of our mission to bring Honor, Connection, and Healing to our combat-wounded Purple Heart Heroes, through the power of the great outdoors. We can't wait to share this with you, so stay tuned as we will be sharing information about our launch and where to listen through our social media platforms, our website, and in our upcoming newsletter! Tune in soon and enjoy!🎙️


Help Our Heroes By Donating a Vehicle

Did you know that you can help support WWIA and our Heroes by donating your car, truck, van, SUV, boat, motorcycle, ATV, RV, trailer or airplane? Working or not, free towing, tax benefits, and helping support our combat-wounded veterans are just a few of the benefits of using the CARS vehicle donation program. Simply click HERE to start the donation process or call CARS toll-free at 855-500-RIDE (855-500-7433) to have a donation staff specialist help guide you through the donation process. If you would like to learn more about how the CARS vehicle donation program works, please click here. We thank you in advance for your support!


Support WWIA When You Shop at Amazon

You can help support WWIA whenever you shop at Amazon through the AmazonSmile program! When you select WWIA as your preferred charity; anytime you shop at Amazon a portion of your purchase will go to support WWIA and our Purple Heart Heroes! Every bit helps, and these donations come from simply shopping for items like we normally do. WWIA received $250.57 this past quarter as a result of our AmazonSmile partners! It's a simple way to make a big difference! If you're not already signed up, simply click HERE to be taken to the AmazonSmile page, and then select Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation as your charity option. You can also sign up for AmazonSmile on the Amazon Shopping app on your phone. You can find it in the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android. Be sure to tell others, as it's a great way to support us while doing something you already do. Thank you!


How Can You Help Support WWIA & Our Heroes?


Did you know that there are lots of different ways to help support WWIA and our Heroes? You can donate online, via mail, via PayPal, through vehicle donations, through shopping with our friends and partners, through workplace giving, through donor advised funds, legacy giving, on Giving Tuesday, and so much more! Click here to learn more about the many ways you can give and partner with WWIA in our mission to bring healing and restoration to our phenomenal combat-wounded Heroes. Thank you! 💜


Want to Learn More About WWIA? Visit Us Online! 

Our website is full of information about who we are, how we serve our Purple Heart Heroes, and how you can get involved!  Visit us today! Click HERE!


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