Community embraces event for vets

Local News

A Southwest Arkansas fishing tournament for wounded veterans is finding a lot of support within the community.  

The AGRED Foundation received a nine thousand dollar financial boost on Friday from Magnolia’s Advertising and Promotion Commission.  The money, organizers said, will support the foundation’s upcoming fishing tournament for wounded patriots.  “We want to tell them thank you for the sacrifices that they made for us,” said Commissioner Samantha Roberson.  The grant is dedicated to pay for hotel rooms for this year’s participants. 

Ten veterans from Arkansas and twenty veterans from Louisiana will all be paired with semi-professional and professional fishermen for a day on Lake Erling on April 13th.  “It helps with some of them that have depression.  It just takes their mind off the monotony of thinking about the experiences that they’ve had,” said AGRED Foundation Director Eric Fletcher.  Fletcher added that some life-changing friendships are formed at the event.  

“A lot of people have lost perspective of how important our military is,” said tournament director Mike Echols.  “They’ve been kindof forgotten and this is a way of taking the non-active that have already been and served, given years out of their life and parts of their body to defend our country and our freedom, and this is a way of bringing them back to the forefront,” he said.  This year’s festivities at AGRED Park in Lafayette County start the evening of Friday, April 12th with a ceremony to retire the colors.

At the end of the event on Saturday, organizers said no tournament participant will leave empty-handed.  In fact, Fletcher is still raising money for the event.  “Last year was a great story,” he said.  “The guy that won the tournament, the night before, had his roof destroyed by a hailstorm, and this helped cover the cost of the repair on the roof.”

If you’d like more information about the event or would like to help sponsor the tournament, contact the AGRED Foundation at (318) 210-0451 or through their website:  http://agredfoundation.com/

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