Yachts and yachts of fun on veterans' 21st annual fishing tripEarly last Monday morning, veterans from all over the state, including 53 from the Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay, began boarding boats at the Knife River Marina for a day of fresh air and fishing.
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Early last Monday morning, veterans from all over the state, including 53 from the Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay, began boarding boats at the Knife River Marina for a day of fresh air and fishing.
As seagulls screeched in the background and the sun inched higher in the pink sky, staff and volunteers wheeled and walked vets from their buses, and then bustled back and forth to the waiting 19 watercraft with supplies –oxygen, extra blankets and other necessities. Bruce Behnke, a Twin Cities resident who spends his summers on the North Shore, is a crew member on the “Mistress,” one of the charters docked at the marina. In spite of the early hour, he was in good humor.
“I was up about 4:15,” he said, “but this is the high point of my spring. It’s about helping the vets. No doubt.”
Nearby, Louis Braga a veteran from Virginia worked his hands into warm gloves and zipped his jacket against the morning chill as he spoke to the Lake County News-Chronicle.
“This is the first time I’ve been here, but I’ve been a Legion member for 60 years. I have to say,” he added, “ I’ve been treated pretty well by this outfit.” Braga, 94, said he’s a World War II vet whose father served in WW I. But of war in general, he also shared his thoughts.
“(It) seems like we’re in World War III. I hope whoever is in the next conflict…I hope they get out of it. Seems like we’re in conflict all the time,” he said.
This day, however, all was peaceful on the North Shore. The sun was out, the sky was clear and fish were waiting. Bill Soderlund, originally from Cascade, said he didn’t come for the fishing, but as he sat onboard Cette II with fellow veteran, Dave Beasley of Silver Bay, he got some good-natured ribbing from the boat’s crew and volunteers and had a change of heart.
“I guess I’ll give it a try,” he smiled.