GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Six wounded soldiers from all over Mississippi will be fishing in the Gulf Saturday free of charge thanks to the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.
The nonprofit Wounded Warriors of Mississippi helped to coordinate the trip with rodeo organizers. The wounded warriors suffer from physical and mental issues that occurred during their time in service.
They say Saturday's trip will help them escape those issues.
Among the many booths at the Mississippi Deep Sea fishing rodeo is the Wounded Warriors of Mississippi. The rodeo is taking this group for some deep sea fishing in the Gulf.
But before they start bringing in the big fish, they're selling t-shirts to raise money for the nonprofit and they'll tell others how the organization helps injured vets.
Founder Cherly Bruce says her organization they help with the day to day issues faced by wounded veterans.
"I help them as far as resources, who they can reach out to, or if they need help with their benefits," said Bruce.
Due to serious injuries sustained during service, Bruce says many are financially strapped because they either can't work or face high medical costs. According to Bruce, the fishing trip gets them out of the house and puts them in a relaxing setting for free.
"It's a means for us to get out and do something. It's a way for us to get to know one another. We get to meet other wounded warriors," said John Patterson.
Patterson suffers from PTSD and has physical injuries caused by a humvee rollover accident.
"I was in Kandahar, Afghanistan and I got hurt coming out of a vehicle," said William Moody.
Moody says he was medically discharged this year. He suffers from permanent nerve damage in his right leg and several other injuries. For the wounded veterans the fishing trip invite is a special thank you for their sacrifices to our country.
"It lets us know that we are cared for," said Patterson.
As they prepare to embark on the high seas. They're already thinking about what they would catch.
"A little bit of everything, but hopefully a stingray," said Moody.
The trip serves as a gift of a appreciation, getting them focused on fish and for a moment forgetting about their problems.
If you'd like to learn more about Wounded Warriors or would like to donate, their booth is up at the rodeo today. They are always looking for donations.