FARMINGTON, Conn. — Joe Kowalski, a retired Marine Corps veteran and member of the 2005 state team for Connecticut, helped organize the fishing event for the Connecticut Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project, Aug. 14-15, at Batterson Pond.
The Black Bass Anglers club member has been taking veterans and at-risk children fishing since 2007 through a program he set up in memory of a friend, called The Major Steven Roy Andrews Fishing Outreach Program. When he heard about the Wounded Warrior project, he volunteered to help with the fishing segment.
The event was hosted by the Sports Association of Gaylord Hospital and the Leaps of Faith Disabled Water Ski Program and included water skiing, kayaking, cycling, fishing and other recreational activities for permanently disabled veterans who had served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other military conflicts.
Kowalski and fellow Connecticut Federation Nation members Dave Sytulek and Jim Stevens provided boats for two days and took 10 veterans fishing. "We were able to take guys out round-robin style for an hour or two and gave them tackle and had a little mini-fishing derby each day," said Kowalski. "They had a ball."
Veterans who caught the biggest fish each day won a rod, reel and tacklebox full of lures donated by Kowalski's sponsors.