Eight wounded warriors and their caretakers will be treated to a stress free day either on the water fishing or getting pampered at Spa 33, thanks to the organization Wounded Warrior Anglers of America Inc. and the owners of the spa.
David Souders, founder of Wounded Warrior Anglers of America, said the group likes to provide an intimate and personal experience for the warriors, which is why they are only treating eight individuals to the outing this quarter. He said it gives them an opportunity to get to know one another and develop friendships.
"These warriors and their families have done so much for us and our nation," he said. "Now it is time for us to personally give back to them."
The Wounded Warrior Anglers of America Inc. is treating eight wounded warriors to a day out on the water Nov. 12.
The outings began because Souders and his wife, Judy, wanted to include the caregivers in a day of fun.
"We wanted to make the families more whole," he said about including the caregivers. "Their (warriors) core is their family."
Judy said the warriors want their families to be a part of the special occasion.
David said they like to try and keep two warriors per boat in case the captain is not a veteran because it provides the warriors with a common bond.
"It gives them a chance to be themselves and let their guard down," he said.
Judy said the bond is almost instant between the warriors.
"You can feel the energy and watch them come together. Within two minutes the brotherhood forms again," she said.
Once the warriors arrive in town for the outing, they all go out to dinner so they can get to know one another before heading out on the water the next day. They stay at the Anglers Inn when they are in town.
David said Anglers Inn provides the organization with a major donation when the warriors are in town.
The warriors then grab breakfast - free of charge - at the Olde Fish House Marina. Before they head out on the water, the warriors are given a rod and reel, which they can continue to use after the day is completed.
The warriors and the captains will depart around 8-8:30 a.m. on Nov. 12 and spend anywhere from five to six hours on the water catching red fish or grouper. David said once they arrive back at the Olde Fish House Marina around 2:30 p.m., staff cleans the fish and provides them with a fish fry.
"Whether we catch fish or not, there is going to be a fish fry," David said.
The organization is always seeking captains who would like to volunteer their time and services for the outings who are avid fishermen who know the area.
Spa 33 owner Nadine Southall said after Judy stopped by the spa and told them about the tournament and outing for Wounded Anglers of America, they felt they had to do something.
"We felt that we seldom have the opportunity to be able to say we appreciate everything the veterans have done as well as the family and we thought this would be a great way to show our appreciation," she said.
With a background in nursing, Southall said she thinks it is not only important to treat the veteran, but their caretaker as well.
"We forget about the caretaker and the amount of stress they are under," she said. "I think it is important that you also try to help the person who is taking care of them."
The women who spend countless hours taking care of their significant others are going to be pampered for the day, courtesy of the staff at Spa 33.
"We are closing our doors to the public on Nov. 12, we will not be accepting any clients that day," Southall said.
The ladies will be treated to a manicure, pedicure, facial and massage, as well as their make-up done but an artist who will be stopping by. In addition, Southall said Barbara Jameson is going to make each one of the women an individualized, customized piece of jewelry.
"By the time their husbands are done, they will be finished with their spa day and feel like a new woman and feel good about themselves," she said. "It is going to be a fun day for them to relax, enjoy and get treated for the day."
If the caretakers have children, they will be treated as well.
"They are more than welcome, we will have things on hand for the children as well," Southall said.
She said they are excited about the opportunity.
"What an opportunity we have to give them a special memory and be acknowledged, it will have an amazing impact for everyone," Southall said.
Judy said it means everything in the world and then some that Southall and her sister, Tammey Lynch, are providing a spa day for the caretakers.
"It's a huge deal," she said. "You are making a big difference in a lot of lives very quickly."
Judy said a day of the girls being together is something needed and overdue because they do not take time for themselves because they are taking care of their loved ones.
The Souders encourage everyone to stop by the Olde Fish House to say hello to the warriors and thank them for their service Nov. 12.
In order to help defray the cost of outings like this, the Souders are holding their first fishing tournament, the Thomas W. Mawer Memorial Battle of Matlacha Fishing Tournament, on Nov. 10.
Registration fees for the tournament are $50 per adult angler that is 14 years old and older and $25 per child angler 13 and younger. The registration fee includes a T-shirt and meal ticket for a barbeque dinner.
David said individuals can set up their own team how ever they choose - one adult, three kids or two adults two kids - whatever they wish.
The fishing tournament, which is a photo tournament, begins at 7 a.m. The tournament is for the longest mangrove snapper, longest sheepshead, longest Spanish mackerel and the total length trash can slam. All photos must be downloaded by the final check in time of 3 p.m.
Registration can be done online at www.woundedwarrioranglers.org, by stopping at the Olde Fish House Marina or by sending a registration form and fees to Wounded Warrior Anglers of America Inc., Attention Battle of Matlacha, 3609 Embers Parkway, W., Cape Coral, FL 33993.
"Come out, fish, participate, have fun and help a warrior at the same time," David said.