CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A new non-profit needs our support. Its goal is to use a relaxing pastime to help disabled veterans heal their minds and hearts after serving our country.

“I joined the Army in 1969. I was a military policeman and went to Vietnam in 1971,” said Bill Kinney, now retired from the Army.

Kinney spoke with as he headed out on a fishing boat in Chesapeake. At that moment, he reflected on his time in combat.

“No one likes going to war.”

Kinney says it was hard to re-acclimate when he returned home.

“When you’re in a warzone, you’re always watching your back. You have to depend on your fellow soldiers, whether you’re on duty or off duty, because you don’t know when you’re going to be attacked.”

It’s something that stays with him even now.

“Sudden loud noises effect you even to this day.”

However, on this boat, Kinney finds peace. It’s thanks to the organization Operation Vets with Nets.

“My goal is to bring a little calm and peace into our warriors’ lives,” says Rich Segarra.

Segarra, a disabled veteran himself, founded the non-profit in 2021 after fishing with a friend who was diagnosed with PTSD.

“If it was so therapeutic for me, and seemed therapeutic for him, why not do something that can benefit any of our disabled vets?”

One by one, disabled veterans boarded Segarra’s boat on Lake Gaston for a day of Cat and Striper fishing. While Segarra loves to fish on Lake Gaston, he says he wants to expand Operation Vets with Nets to the Hampton Roads area.

“Hampton Roads is the biggest community in the world of vets.”

It’s an area where Segarra spent a lot of time. He was in the Navy for 20 years. He spent half of his career in Norfolk. So, expanding to Hampton Roads is also a mission from his heart, but expanding takes resources like donations.

“You get 100 people donating $10 per month, that adds up.”

It adds up to gas for boats, new equipment, insurance, and a chance to show our veterans, like Bill Kinney, that we appreciate their sacrifice.

“It means a lot to me that there’s still people that care about us, about the veterans,” Kinney said.

Right now, Operation Vets with Nets is working on making a boat wheelchair accessible. If you would like to help the organization financially to complete that project, click here.

If you would like to donate to the organization as a whole, click here.

Segarra also wants to give a big thank you to Operation Vets with Nets volunteers, who he calls his “backbone of trips” when he can’t take veterans out himself. They are Matt Glover, Mike Barnes and Mark Downing.