Pay It Forward Featured on Midwest Outdoors TV

It started out as an idea to “give back” to those who have given and still give so much.  The name we chose for the Lake of the Woods Area veteran’s event was “Pay It Forward”.  We thought it was appropriate for many reasons.  This past August, for the seventh year, 70 veterans converged on Lake of the Woods for a 3 night, 2 day all expenses paid fishing trip.

american flag metal cutoutThey arrived from all over the U.S., but mainly neighboring states and all across MN.  When it’s all said and done, veterans of all types, male and female, various branches of the military, some in the heart of conflicts overseas, many with a physical and/or psychological ailments such as PTSD or TBI come together and rub elbows with other veterans.  Veterans spending time with other veterans on and around Lake of the Woods in a loving and supportive environment.  This recipe is what makes the Pay It Forward event so magical.

There are so many touching stories.  Some are happy stories.  And honestly, some are not so happy.  Like many veterans discuss, for many, even though back home, the “battle” is still real, maybe just in a different form.  Like one veteran put it, “I may have left Vietnam, but Vietnam has not left me.”  This quote is deep and resonates with many veterans regardless of when they were in and what they were involved with.Pay it forward veterans event 2021

Pay It Forward allows veterans to forget about challenges, at least for a few days.  Hand picked speakers help shed light on a variety if issues, resources and solutions affecting our veterans.  How to peruse the VA medical system?  Where can I go for a job?  Who can I reach out to if I feel like I am falling through the cracks?  What does a veteran’s service officer do and how can I reach one?  Are their support groups?  How can I receive help for my specific struggles?  What is my purpose in life?  In many cases, there are resources or groups that can be helpful in some way to veterans.

Of course this event does take place up at Lake of the Woods, hence, one of the activities that veterans really look forward to is the walleye fishing.  The fishing guides from a number of resorts did an excellent job putting our veteran guests on fish.

Midwest Outdoors TV filmed this year’s event and gives you just a glimpse of some of the activities, conversations and new friendships formed way out on Lake of the Woods on a charter boat!


Pay It Forward Veterans Event, River Bend Resort, Lake of the Woods


This year, and since the outset, Fishing For Life has assisted as a partner of Pay It Forward.  They are a group based out of the Twin Cities but reaching out to folks throughout the region helping tremendously with bringing veterans together, identifying issues and providing solutions, creating veterans events that are key to fostering support and so much more.

Pay It Forward is made possible through the generosity and giving nature of sponsors.  This includes resorts who donate lodging, charters and meals, small businesses and veteran organizations who believe in helping veterans enjoy a fishing trip aboard a charter boat in this loving, caring environment along with the positive outcomes we see year in and year out.  Thank you to all sponsors who make this event happen.  2021 pay it forward sponsors

This past summer’s event, like every event, brought very special people who happen to be veterans to Lake of the Woods.  And once again, magic happened.


If you are interested in yourself or perhaps a company being a sponsor or if you are a veteran or know of a veteran who may be interested, check out or our Pay it Forward page.  You can also email Joe Henry at or give a call to 320-260-7727.

Thank you to all veterans and all who protect and serve!

(Click Here to return to the Lake of the Woods Tourism website)

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