MILFORD, Mich. — Michigan B.A.S.S. Federation Nation anglers honored the country's war veterans by supporting a special bass tournament during the Heroes in Helmets event, June 13, at Kent Lake in Kensington Metro Park.
The Tips-Up for the Troops bass tournament paired volunteer boaters with a veteran or an active duty injured soldier, making 42 teams. Chapter president Paul Sacks and Federation Nation board members Tom Boland and Jay Berwick helped run the tournament, and other board members fished in the event. The tournament received strong support from the Federation Nation — nearly three-quarters of the volunteer boaters were from the Michigan Federation Nation, according to Sacks.
This is the second year the Michigan Federation Nation has hosted the tournament for the veterans. After Lupe Reyes, a Federation Nation board member, served as a boater during the tournament's inception three years ago, he recommended to Sacks that the Michigan state chapter should get involved in the event.
The Michigan Federation Nation worked with Major Rick Briggs, BASS member and event coordinator, in planning the tournament. "They are the critical link in the whole thing," said Briggs. "People come to this event from more than 60 cities around the state, so it takes a lot of planning."
The tournament has become a highlight of the year for the veterans. "Three guys were home on vacation from combat and were only home for two weeks, but they took a day to come out with us," said Briggs. "They absolutely loved it."