Pay It Forward Weekend A Huge Success
It is so great to see a plan come together, as did this past weekend at the third annual Pay It Forward event for veterans up at Lake of the Woods. 60 veterans were treated to a 3 night, 2 day fishing trip compliments of generous resorts, Lake of the Woods Tourism and caring sponsors. Veterans arrived from 8 different states and all four branches of the military.
Thursday night was the opening dinner in which veterans, distinguished guests, and gold sponsors were treated to a delicious prime rib dinner at Sportsman’s Lodge. They also had the chance to hear from two excellent speakers. First, Jeanine Solberg of the VA gave a presentation honoring those who were part of Vietnam. There is no question our vets from Vietnam did not receive the heroes welcome they deserved, and although nobody will ever be able to change that, we certainly let them know how appreciative and proud we are of them.
Jim Nelson then shared his experiences during and after Vietnam. An unbelievable journey that ended up with a message of faith leading the way.
Friday after a robust breakfast, veterans and guests took to the waters of Lake of the Woods. The walleyes and saugers cooperated very nicely. Most boats filled coolers.
At noon, the Baudette VFW prepared a delicious shore lunch of burgers, brats, various salads, deserts and refreshments. Many volunteers showed up to make sure the veterans received a nice welcome. All 15 charter boats embarked on Zippel Bay State Park for the lunch which made for a wonderful setting. The large harbor was helpful as well.
Friday evening, veterans enjoyed wonderful Mexican food at Border View Lodge. A full taco bar with all of the fixings, chicken and seafood enchiladas, rice, all the trimmings and a variety of deserts welcomed veterans. Friday night was a nigh to hang out with other veterans on the banks of the Rainy River.
Saturday after a robust breakfast, veterans hit the water. This day had a bit of rain and was a bit rougher. Lots of fish were caught as were the two largest fish of the two days, a 26.75 inch walleye and a 41 inch northern pike.
Saturday evening our guests were led by local authorities into Baudette to the Fairgrounds for a fish fry, program and live music. This event mixes the community with the veterans. The food was great. The Knight Lighters sounder terrific and our guest speaker from the Wounded Warrior Project delivered a well received message of hope, having a positive attitude and life after the military.
Sunday morning after a nice breakfast, veterans made their way to the bus, van, car or motorcycle that brought them north to return home.
A huge thank you to the participating veterans, sponsors, resorts and volunteers for a job well done. Memories were made and good things happened on Lake of the Woods this past weekend on behalf of the veterans.