Wounded Warrior Anglers of America Inc. held its first membership meeting Monday night at the Matlacha Community Center. Wounded Warrior Anglers is a nationally chartered public charity founded in 2012 by David and Judy Souders.
The organization is dedicated to helping veterans with life changing injuries and to rehabilitate service members who have been injured, wounded or disabled in the line of duty - regardless of their era of service.
About 30 members attended the meeting to lay out the groundwork of this year's fund-raising, fishing outings and formal formation of the 1st Chartered Chapter.
"We do two main fund-raisers," David Souders said. "The purpose of these is so we can do Wounded Warrior and caregiver retreats. The first fund-raiser is, of course, the boat raffle and we give the boat away at the 2nd Annual Redfish Poker Fishing Championship on Memorial Day Weekend. This year Memorial Day is on Saturday, May 24. There are two divisions, a boat division and a kayak division."
Prizes will be awarded for the biggest redfish, the redfish with the most spots and the biggest snook. Prizes will be paid for first place boat, second place boat and third place boat. There will also be prizes for first place kayak and second place kayak.
Entry fees for boats is $225 and kayaks $50.
Entertainment is yet to be determined.
"I am confident we will have two or three bands to provide entertainment for the day," Souders said.
"One thing that was successful last year was the silent auction and the Chinese auction," Souders said. "We are looking for people to donate raffle items for these two auctions."
For those that would like to see the boat, it will premier at the Southwest Florida Seafood & Car Show Feb. 22 at Sun Splash Waterpark.?This year's boat is a 2014 21-foot NauticStar 2110 Sport Bay with a 115 horse power Yamaha F115 with a 92-inch beam. The boat also has a magic tilt trailer and such added features as stainless steel props, 77 bow seat base, swim platform with a ladder, single battery switch, two gunnel rod holders and a custom tribute boat wrap by Infinite Ideas.
The boat, motor and trailer package is currently valued at $43,247, but the organization will still be adding Fish-finder/GPS Unit, Bob's Jack Plate, trolling motor and shallow water anchor system valued at an additional $5,000.00
Upcoming events are Water and Wheels at Cape Harbor (Cape Coral) on March 8; Bonita Boat Show (Bonita Springs) on March 6-9, and the Mullet Toss (Matlacha) on March 22.
"We've sold 755 tickets so far," Judy Souders said. "Center Bait and Tackle, Spa33 and Olde Fish House have done a spectacular job for us but we still have a long way to go to reach 3,000 and we still don't have the boat paid for. So in the coming weeks we have a lot of hard work ahead of us."
Tickets for the boat raffle are available online at: and by calling Judy Souders, vice president of Wounded Warrior Anglers, at 423-620-9104.
Tickets are available locally at Center Bait and Tackle, 10707 Stringfellow Road, Bokeelia, 239-558-8085; or Olde Fish House Marina, 4530 Pine Island Road, Matlacha, 239-282-9577.
Tickets are $20 each or six for $100. Winner will be announced at the Memorial Day event. The winner need not be present. The winner is responsible for the tag, title, delivery, dealer prep, registration and all applicable taxes.
If you are interested in hosting a fund-raiser or displaying the Wounded Warrior Anglers Raffle Boat to help them sell tickets, contact Judy Souders at 423-620-9104. To join the Wounded Warrior Anglers, contact Judy Souders.