East Texans fish for veterans in Patriot's Challenge

East Texans fish for veterans in Patriot's Challenge

BROADDUS, TX (KTRE) - The Jackson Hill Park and Marina was filled with boats all day. Teams from all over East Texas competed for the best catches in a bass fishing tournament.

"I whipped my husband! I caught a 7 pounder," said Sherry Harris, a supporter of the cause.

Several people made a big catch today at this marina, but it was all for a special purpose.

"We sponsor military families and wounded warriors," said Terry Sympson, the organizer of the tournament.

People donated money to participate in the Sympson sponsored Patriot's Challenge. The tournament ensures veterans can enjoy a day on the water tomorrow.

"I can't say enough about the people who donate their lives, time, and families to keep us free," said Harris.

Like Harris, many  entered the competition for the love of fishing and for the love of our veterans.

"I had two brothers in the service," Harris said.

"These veterans have sacrificed a lot for us," Sympson said.

Sympson says the proceeds from the Patriot's Challenge fund activities for military heroes of the past and present. The Outdoor Freedom Program holds events where veterans can enjoy the outdoors, have free stays and meals, and most importantly feel appreciated.

"There's something magical about being out on the water," Sympson said.

He says veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder feel at peace on the Angelina River.

"Fishing is a primal form of mediation and healing," said Sympson.

The winners received cash prizes, and there was a drawing for a custom-made fishing pole. Though they all enjoyed the fun of the competition, Harris said, "Even if you don't win anything, it's well worth the money that goes to the veterans."

The Patriot's Challenge will continue on several dates this year. There will be nine more chances to fish for the cause.

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