Volunteers needed to take soldiers fishing

KILLEN, Ala. — The second annual Operation HOOAH event will take place on Alabama's Pickwick and Wilson lakes, Nov. 2-3, 2013.

Operation HOOAH (Healing Outside of an Army Hospital) is a two-day outing for 20 wounded warriors from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) out of Fort Campbell, Ky. Soldiers will fish with volunteers as guides. The guides will provide their own bass boats, fishing equipment and tackle for the soldiers to use.

“The purpose of this event is to not only get these soldiers out of the Army hospital for a couple of days of bass fishing but to facilitate their mental healing as well," said Ron McDonald, owner of Southern Fishing News, one of the sponsors of the outing. "The event in 2012 was an outstanding success with great support from local bass fishermen and sponsoring businesses.”

The Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa will provide rooms for the soldiers, as they did in 2012. Other supporters include Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, Occidental Chemical Corp., Tracker Boats in Florence, Gray's Tackle and the Colbert County Tourism office.

McDonald has been coordinating with the Warrior Transition office at Fort Campbell. Soldiers are already signing up.

The soldiers and fishing guides will be fishing on Pickwick Lake out of McFarland Park in Florence, Ala., Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Nov. 3, the teams will be on Wilson Lake out of Fleet Harbor at Wilson Dam from 7 a.m. until noon .

Any individuals, businesses or organizations that wish to donate money or products to support the event should e-mail McDonald at southernfishing@bellsouth.net.

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