For 25th year, Yorktown Rotary gives disabled veterans freedom to fish

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YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – Using an electric lift, volunteers with the Yorktown Rotary helped to get a couple dozen service members onto a boat to enjoy a day of fishing on the York River.

This trip marks the 49th in the 25 years the rotary has hosted the Disabled Veterans Fishing Event.

They take out disabled veterans, most of whom have spinal cord injuries, on the Wednesday after Memorial Day and Labor Day.

“When we talk to them you can just see it’s just a tremendous outing for them,” said Helmut Walter. “I think the best part is when I see one of these guys catch a fish and haul it in.”

Fishing is Leon Dale’s way of relaxing. He retired from the U.S. Army as a military policeman in 1977. In 2010, he suffered a spinal stroke and lost feeling from his waist down.

“I just like being able to get out on the water,” said Dale. “I love to fish. I grew up on the waterfront. I’ve been fishing pretty much my whole life.”

Walter says he expects the events to last at least 25 more years.

“Watching these guys get out in Mother Nature. It just doesn’t get much better.”

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