Veterans spend day out on Missouri River for fishing event

Local News

CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (KELO) — With a break from the rain, one group is taking advantage of the weather and getting in some fishing. Thursday was the first day of the Paralyzed Veterans of America/Firefighter fishing event.

The weather may be a little cloudy, but that’s not stopping Gene Murphy from getting out and enjoying some walleye fishing.

“It’s a little slow, but I know if we use the Irish minnows, we’re going catch a lot more,” Veteran, Gene Murphy said.

Murphy is a Vietnam Veteran, he’s been taking this fishing trip for more than 15 years.

“I served in the United States Army. I was wounded in Vietnam way back in ’69 or I call it, April 20, my alive day. It’s been 49 years so hey, life is good,” Murphy said.

This is the event’s 17th year, and it’s been growing ever since.

“I had 6 boats and I had 6 vets and I’m proud to say that this year, the 17th year, I have 46 boats out on the water and I have just under 50 vets fishing,” coordinator, Bill Curry said.

Many of the veterans are in wheelchairs, so the group uses a telehandler forklift created to get the veterans to and from the boats.

“That allows to lift the person up and set them in the boat, and then they go down, and they put them in the water and then when they come up, we take them out the same way. Once we get going, it’s a slick process,” Curry said.

A day well spent and full of memories for Murphy.

“I mean meeting the other veterans and of course all the volunteers. I just, I think the volunteers are just super. You know, they are taking two to three days off and providing this for our severely disabled vets,” Murphy said.

The event is held each year on the Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day. 

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