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Seafarers International Union donates $20,000 to Wounded Warrior Anglers

June 5, 2013
By MEGHAN McCOY ( ) , Pine Island Eagle

Seafarers International Union donated $20,000 to Wounded Warrior Anglers Friday afternoon.

The Seafarers International Union, which began in 1938, is very much involved in giving back to the communities in any way it can.

Seafarers International Union Port Agent Kris Hopkins said they held their first annual fishing tournament in February at their school in Maryland. He said the gentleman who coordinated the event, Executive Board member George Tricker, was among the group who decided to make Wounded Warrior Anglers the recipient of the funds raised during the tournament.

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Wounded Warrior Angler Member Guy Lee, Caregiver Rosa Vazquez, Wounded Warrior Angel Vazquez, Wounded Warrior Angler Co-Founder David Souders, Seafares International Union Port Agent Kris Hopkins, Wounded Warrior Angler Co-Founder Judy Souders and Wounded Warrior Angler Board Member Tony “The Judge” Rogers. Hopkins donated $20,000 to Wounded Warrior Anglers Friday afternoon.

"I think it is important that we recognize the people that have served our country and became injured and critically disabled," Hopkins said. "It is important that we give back to them."

He said the tournament brought people related to labor and management together while raising funds for Wounded Warrior Anglers.

Hopkins said he believes it will be safe to say that the tournament will turn into an annual event.

Wounded Warrior Anglers Co-Founder David Souders said Tricker contacted him on the phone out of the blue at the end of January/beginning of February.

"He asked me if we would be interested in participating," he said.

David said James Villa and Natalie Sayles were the two wounded warriors who participated in the tournament.

"We wanted to develop a relationship with them to help our warriors," he said.

Judy Souders, also a co-founder of Wounded Warrior Anglers, said they were very excited that someone else was going to take their warriors out on the water.

"We didn't anticipate anything," she said.

Judy said they are still speechless about the $20,000 donation they received.

"We still are really overwhelmed with the generosity of what these folks have done for the organization," she said.

Judy said although the donation is not earmarked for anything in particular, they will use the money to take care of the veterans, caregivers, spouses and children, which is done through their Warrior Caregiver Retreats.

"We are not just going to go out and spend it," Dave said of the donation.

He said the money will be used to purchase rod and reels for the Warrior and Caregiver Retreat, along with covering the cost of housing them while they are in town.

"It will put us in the situation to be more creative and productive in the organization," Judy said of the donation.

Hopkins said Seafarers International Union is an organization with the U.S. merchant mariners. He said they provide people for everything, which includes military shops crewed with civilian mariners, oil tankers to take fuel to the war zones and vessels to carry supplies. Hopkins said they essentially provide everything they need to sustain themselves while they are in the area.

"We crew a lot of gray haul ships and navy ships," Hopkins said. "We have contracts with private employers who in turn operate these vessels. That is how we are so near and dear to what is going on in the areas of conflict in the world."



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