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Warrior Fishing Foundation "angling" to help disabled veterans heal

Looking for new veterans to "come, go fishing" as well as for donations to make it happen for them

For retired, disabled U.S. Marine Corps veteran Ben Travis, fishing was something he did when he was a kid or a youth. Who knew it would become a veritable life-saver for him, but it certainly did! So much so, he had to spread the word and help out others like him who were needing something to help them like being out on the water and fishing did for him.

So, he started the Wounded Warrior Foundation, and it has taken off in a big way for him and the veterans he helps.

Said Travis recently, "I started the Wounded Warrior Foundation in 2022, after realizing the impact that fishing and being outdoors had on my mental health as well my physical health. I realized that not only did it give me escape from the everyday routines, but it aided me in developing my critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and became a way for me to build back confidence and increase my focus."

Travis said he is "...a Disabled Veteran (United States Marine Corps 2002-2006) diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)."

"I realized that if I started a foundation and tried to raise money to help take other veterans in the same situation as myself fishing, then maybe they too could begin a journey to healing and wellness they may have not been motivated achieve otherwise," he said, adding, "Having a bass boat, I felt I could really achieve that goal."

So far, Ben said he has only taken a few veterans with him, and most trips have been to local ponds just to converse and get an idea for what other veterans may need or want in a foundation. Travis continued, "However, this year, with the addition of a new Skeeter bass boat, I plan to focus my attention on Lake Norman, Lake Hickory, and other lakes in western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. My goal is to eventually be able to travel throughout the southeast, so that I can reach as many veterans as possible who might benefit from my cause, and make this my full-time journey."

As for what kind of fishing they do, Travis noted, "We stick to bass fishing since that is what I know best. Having bass fished for most of my life, growing up with my father and on my own over the years, I could give the veterans the best possible opportunity to catch fish. Although the trips are about more than catching fish, it is one of the main goals for the day."

As for who can come out or what audience he's looking for, Ben said, "We invite any veteran who may be struggling physically or psychologically, no matter the gender. However, I try to avoid having more than two people on the boat at one time, myself and the other veteran. I want to keep the environment as safe as possible, and having more than two people on a bass boat can feel a little overwhelming and crowded. So, we limit our program to just one veteran at a time. It keeps us safe, and allows us to focus on the task at hand."

Ben said they haven't fished or had any tournaments yet, and although he's "...sort of new to the process of fundraising," he does see some really neat tournaments in his future.

"My main goal now is fundraising, networking, and bringing the idea of the foundation to reality," he said. "We have the boat, the donations are beginning to show up, and now we are just excited to hit the water for the year and see how this ride plays out. It's all about the veterans, and if I'm honest, it's better for me than any medicine they could ever prescribe. Starting this foundation has given me purpose again in my own life. Like they say, a bad day of fishing beats a good day of anything else!"

Travis noted the foundation's donations impact the veterans as they use them to directly aid in their cause.

"They help to buy fishing gear, safety equipment, keep the operational cost down, and help us to be able to give each veteran a rod and reel, as well as a tackle box they can take home to start their own journey of fishing," stated Travis.

"We have several donation tiers, with the highest being $5,000 and up, which will enable a company who is interested in donating that amount, get exposure by placing their logo on our boat, our truck, and on all our marketing material as well as our website and social media. We look daily for partnerships in the industry."

For more information on donating and referring a veteran to the Foundation, please contact Ben Travis at Warrior Fishing Foundation at www.warriorsfish.com. You can also email him at warriorfishingfoundation@gmail.com, or call him at (980) 241-4428 and either leave him a message or text him.

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