CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Brandon Sears, a member of the Montgomery County Bass Club, has served multiple combat tours and knows how hard it is for soldiers to decompress when they come back home.
As an Army Warrant Officer, Sears wanted to give back to those who have served our country and the children of our fallen heroes, so he created Weekends for Warriors in January 2013. The nonprofit organization provides a day of fishing for soldiers who have been wounded in combat or are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as the children of fallen heroes.
“There are lots of kids who have lost a father or a mother, and I can teach them how to enjoy fishing, how to tie a hook, bait a hook or take a fish off or even just be someone they can talk to and confide in,” Sears said.
Weekends for Warriors events were held once a month from April through September on either Barkley Lake or Kentucky Lake. Sears estimated the events drew 90 soldiers from Fort Campbell, Ky. “We tried to limit it to about 10 soldiers a trip, but a couple of trips we took out 15 to 18 soldiers,” Sears said.
The soldiers were paired up in the morning with volunteer boat captains, including members of Sears’ club and other Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation clubs.
“It is just a day out fishing, and any species goes,” said Sears of the events. The soldiers were given rods and reels that they could keep, and a lunch was provided for them after their morning of fishing.
"We have had the help of several Bassmaster Elite Series pros as well," said Sears. "They have donated their tournament jerseys for us to auction off to raise funds to pay for future Weekends For Warriors events. Cliff Prince, Randy Howell and Timmy Horton deserve an extra thanks for their support."
In addition to the weekend events, the program is planning a day of fishing for children of fallen heroes is planned for fall 2014 at a couple of stocked ponds in the area. Sears plans to hold a kids event once a year every fall.