Huntsville area vets get surprise shopping spree for fishing trip

Academy Sports & Outdoor teamed up with two local groups to give veterans a fishing shopping...
Academy Sports & Outdoor teamed up with two local groups to give veterans a fishing shopping spree(WAFF)
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 9:15 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -25 local veterans got a unique surprise on Saturday morning.

The group was told to meet at the Academy Sports & Outdoors shop on South Memorial Parkway. When they got there, they were presented with $200 gift cards and told to stock up on kayaking and fishing gear.

Academy teamed up with Heroes on the Water and the North Alabama Kayak Anglers to make this happen. Volunteers from the groups helped the vets pick out the best gear before an upcoming trip.

“It’s really about getting out on the water, helping them connect to a larger community.” said Nathan Mayfield with the North Alabama Kayak Anglers. “It allows them to share an interest with fishing, with outdoors, it helps them deal with stress and things in their lives.” Mayfield says his father was a veteran, as are multiple members of the NAKA group. Doing this event on Memorial Day weekend just made sense, he says.

Joe Drowns is the local secretary for Heroes on the Water. His dad was also a vet - 27 years in the Air Force. He says that gives him insight into what veterans and their families need. “As a family, some of the things we went through, not only the separations when he would go - they were just hard on my mom. Just understanding. It’s important just to help out, not only for the vets but for the families, especially those who have lost.”

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