SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –With the Memorial Day weekend just ahead of us a lot of people will be visiting gravesites all over KELOLAND remembering loved ones who have gone before us.
Some are also be hitting the rivers and lakes, including some very special fishermen.
It’s not easy to get on a fishing boat when you’re paralyzed and in a wheelchair.
“You know a lot of them don’t get to go fishing at all or do anything in the outdoors,” paralyzed veteran Gene Murphy said.
But with the help of a fork lift and straps, 50 paralyzed Veterans got to get on board and fish for walleyes on the Missouri River.
“We do it to share the great outdoors of South Dakota and take those people who are heroes in our community to give them an opportunity to experience the outdoors with us and give them something an opportunity they normally would not have,” event organizer Bill Curry said.
This is the 22nd year the organization has gotten together to help paralyzed Veterans.
They start the process of getting volunteers and Veterans to sign up back in January.
The South Dakota Fireman’s Association donates the boats and drivers.
Gene Murphy, who was injured in the Vietnam war, catches more than fish, he catches all the reactions.
“The expression on their faces when they caught their limit and boom and to me it’s just something,” Murphy said.
Organizers say watching the vets reel in a fish is heartwarming.
“Smiles some of the biggest smiles I’ve seen in my life,” Curry said.
“If we catch fish that’s a bonus, but we do do pretty good out here on the Missouri River this time of year, it’s the best time to do some fishing in the state of South Dakota, the boat captains share information and share techniques it’s not about winning the tournament, it’s not about getting the biggest fish, it’s about getting these guys on the fish and make them feel alive in the great outdoors.”
The Veterans started fishing on Thursday, had a dinner last night, and continued fishing all day today or until they got their limit.