After three-days at sea, 125 veterans aboard 50 sportfishing yachts gathered outside Avalon Harbor for patriotic flyover and weigh-in
More than $1 million raised for Freedom Alliance to serve combat-wounded veterans healing from physical and emotional wounds
AVALON, Calif., Sept. 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — More than 50 of the west coast’s finest sportfishing yachts assembled outside Avalon Harbor last night with 125 United States military veterans on board returning from three days at sea during the fifth annual War Heroes on Water sportfishing tournament. As the WHOW fleet paraded through Avalon Harbor, a flyover of vintage WWII aircrafts filled the sky to salute our nation’s heroes.
Harnessing the healing powers of the ocean and the thrill of team-based competition, the sportfishing tournament off the coast of Southern California helps combat-wounded veterans recover from their physical and emotional wounds.
“Our nation’s veterans need our support; they sacrifice so much for our freedom, returning from combat with physical and emotional wounds,” said WHOW Founder Anthony Hsieh. “Joining our heroes on the water is both humbling and inspiring – to be a part of their journey and witness the healing power of the ocean. I’ve seen first-hand that WHOW saves lives, and I’m beyond grateful to everyone who came together to make this year our biggest yet for supporting our veterans.”
Following the flyover, veterans, captains and crews disembarked from their vessels to weigh their catches on Catalina’s iconic Green Pier – a coveted opportunity and dream for many west coast anglers. WHOW teams gathered in celebration, with new friends and old cheering one another on while weighing thousands of pounds of fish while Avalon locals and tourists joined in to show their appreciation for our veterans.
“The conditions on the water were not ideal this weekend, but our veterans fished hard,” said Tournament Director and WHOW Captain Rod Halperin. “The teams really put in the effort, and it paid off as we saw a wide variety of fish come into the pier today. Beyond fishing, SoCal’s captains and crews showed up in record numbers for our veterans. It was truly unbelievable.”
After all the ranking points are calculated, the WHOW fleet will gather for a heartfelt awards ceremony tonight at the Lyon Air Museum to reflect on their time on the water. There they will share stories of their journeys and learn who will take home this year’s most-coveted trophies.
As the 2022 event draws to a conclusion, Freedom Alliance Director of Military & Charitable Programs and WHOW veteran participant Justin Sabo said, “Being on the water during WHOW, you can’t help but establish an incredible bond and camaraderie among the captains and crew and the other veterans onboard. I have no doubt we will continue these friendships for a lifetime, which is both rare and critical because a lot of vets isolate themselves – it takes a long time for us to heal. Knowing that other people are going through the same things that you are, and that you have this basic support that you can lean on in the future is an incredible gift.”
With the support of 225 returning and new corporate and private donors and sponsors who care about our veterans and understand how this tournament is changing—and saving–lives, this year’s WHOW raised well over $1 million, bringing the total funds raised since the tournament’s inception to $5 million.
“We’re fortunate to have so many generous donors, sponsors, captains and crews who understand the challenges facing our nations heroes and want to help,” added Hsieh. “Their support allows us expand our reach to more veterans and families each year.”
Money raised during WHOW benefits the tournament’s charitable partner, Freedom Alliance, which touches thousands of lives of veterans and their families through its work providing therapeutic services, as well as scholarships for the children of fallen or combat-wounded servicemen and women.
War Heroes on Water (WHOW) is an annual sportfishing tournament of unprecedented scale that supports combat-wounded veterans’ programs. It was created by Anthony Hsieh, who is also the owner and leader of Team Bad Company, a world-class, record-holding competitive sportfishing fleet. Through Hsieh’s deep connections with the Southern California sportfishing and business communities, WHOW has grown exponentially over five years and is now the largest nonprofit sportfishing tournament in the US.
Freedom Alliance is a charitable organization which provides help and support to wounded troops and military families. Freedom Alliance has awarded more than $20 million in college scholarships to the children of military heroes killed or disabled in military service and has spent millions more helping injured veterans and military families with outdoor recreational therapy trips, Heroes Vacations, care packages for deployed troops, mortgage-free homes, all-terrain wheelchairs and much more. To learn more, visit www.FreedomAlliance.org or Facebook.com/FreedomAlliance.
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SOURCE War Heroes on Water