Operation Fishing Freedom | Sharing Military Veteran’s Stories & Forging A Path To Healing
Military Veterans have worked hard to serve our country, and they deserve our support. They have overcome a great amount of adversity and challenges while in service, especially during times of deployment. There are many caring individuals and organizations out there that extend a helping hand to veterans. Operation Fishing Freedom is one of them. It is a unique TV program on the Discovery Channel and soon WGN America that launched in 2016 as a result of another non-profit organization called “Take a Vet Fishing.”
The Voice of a Hero
Take a Vet Fishing, a non-profit organization, was co-founded in 2011 by Jay Garstecki and retired Air Force Chief Master Sargent, Robert C. Blanchar. They founded the non-profit to help veterans overcome post-traumatic stress. Studies found that fishing is a great way to lower PTS and provides healing effects to many veterans.
As volunteer organizers Jay Garstecki and Ben Olsen started taking vets fishing, they noticed that getting them on the water to fish encouraged them to tell their stories, including some of the most traumatic and life-changing details of their military experience. Not only was it therapeutic, but they found the stories to be very compelling and inspiring. They discovered heroes in their midst and felt so strongly that these heroic stories of courage and patriotism should be shared. Thus, the idea for the TV show, Operation Fishing Freedom, was born. The founders, Jay Garstecki and Ben Olsen, have the goal of getting more stories told of our military veterans and honoring them the way they deserve to be.
Here Are Some of Their Stories:
As I watch these episodes from Operation Fishing Freedom, I can’t help but get emotional at times, and I’m sure other viewers feel the same. It’s a show that captures these amazing stories of heroism and self-sacrifice — the values that founded our great nation. Viewers will appreciate the sacrifice that our Military men and women make for us as they fight to protect freedom and to serve our country. Getting the word out about this inspiring show will also benefit Hawaii since we have such a strong military presence with all the branches of the military having bases of operation on the island of Oahu.
I had the opportunity to speak with one of the co-founders, Jay Garstecki, and he expressed to me that the purpose of the show is to get more people to hear these stories of heroes that served our country because most people don’t have any idea of what our veterans have gone through. It will give people a greater understanding of the price of freedom and the sacrifice made by our military veterans. The goal is to also find more ways to bring healing to veterans who are suffering from PTSD.
Operation Fishing Freedom relies on donations and sponsorships from the public to keep it going. Currently they are very grateful to Great Clips, who has been their major sponsor, but they could use more help. Please join me in supporting this great cause. Tune in to the Discovery Channel or WGN America to watch episodes of the show.
How You Can Help
For more information about how to donate, become a sponsor or to learn about the show visit their website: www.OperationFishingFreedom.com
To learn about related organizations to Operation Fishing Freedom that also help veterans:
- Take a Vet Fishing, please contact at 413-FOR- VETS (413-367- 8387) or visit their website at www.takeavetfishing.org.
- The Sparta Project, a secular and spiritual approach to help veterans in the healing process. For more information please visit their website: www.TheSpartaProject.org
- Yontz Valor Foundation, an organization that helps wounded veterans and their families. For more information please visit their website: www.yontzvalorfoundation.org
Rose Medina Kemna was born and raised in Hawaii and is a Realtor Broker on the Military Specialized Team with Hawaii Life. Assisting active duty military and veterans, as well as first responders – police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians, with buying or selling real estate in Hawaii is her passion. She comes from a family of veterans who have served in the U.S. military, as well as family members who are police officers, and feels it’s an honor to help these dedicated servicemen and women during an important transition in their lives. Reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org