While filming at the 8th Annual Veterans Fishing Club, Heaven’s Angler’s Bass Club interviewed several folks, Rich Eder who started this annual event, and Lisa Opfer on why the Gateway Bass ‘n Gals volunteers at this event each year. Click here to watch.
This is an annual event held at Busch Wildlife and while some of you may be aware of the event or perhaps seen the signs posted at Busch, not many know how it all started. Once Upon a Time. . . . .
Eight years ago Rich Eder was visiting a friend at the VA Jefferson Barracks Hospital. Having a love for fishing, Rich decided to put together a day of fishing for these veterans and so began Veterans Fishing For Veterans – now a 501c3 non for profit organization.
Rich, an avid fisherman, got with his fishing buddies Mike Schriever, Rodney MaGrew and Bill Wilcox and decided to start a day of fishing for the veterans of Jefferson Barracks and Cochran Hospitals here in St Louis. Since Donna Kummer worked with Mike Schriever for many years at Rock Hill Mechanical Corporation, she also got involved. Rich’s nephew, Jon Vogel, who is with the Missouri Conservation Department works hard every year to provide the Veterans a great place on Lake 15 at Busch’s Wildlife Area. At the start, Mike and Donna started sending out letters to their subcontractors and suppliers at work and through word of mouth to people and friends — the list of sponsors has grown every year.
The donation list is long – these people donate money, backpacks, backpack stuffers, food, a propane tank to smoke the meat for lunch, a generator to use all day as there is no power at the lake, t-shirts for the Veterans, Fishing Towels for the volunteers and Veterans. Bank of America employees volunteer and provide all the drinks for the day; Lincoln County Marine Color Guard provides the flag service when the Veterans arrive; Grace Moore (the Cake Lady) donates wonderful cakes every year; Zebco rods and reels donates all the rods; Graybar Electric supplies all the breakfast goodies; The Patriot Riders (an awesome group) brings the buses into the event; Frank and Bob (the BBQ experts) smoke all the meat each for lunch. There are so many that make this event the success it is. This year there was no one to sing the National Anthem – at the volunteer meeting a lady walked up to Donna and said, “My daughter is here and would be honored to sing.” This young lady did a wonderful job. It seems whatever need there may be, someone is there.
While the following list of sponsors is long, it is certainly not inclusive — there are many others who aren’t mentioned here but without everyone’s help, this event would not be the success it is.
Photos from this event have been posted on the Gateway Bass ‘n Gals website and Facebook page. Heaven’s Angler’s bass club has also posted photos on their Facebook page along with some videos. For information on donating to this event, please contact Donna Kummer .
Here’s is an awesome video taken at the 8th Annual Veterans Fishing Day held at Busch Wildlife on June 4, 2016. This video put together by the Heaven’s Angler’s Bass Club.