Veterans Experience Healing Nature of Lake of the Woods

Veteran’s Day.  It’s a federal holiday observed annually on November 11th honoring military veterans.  It’s also a way to say “Thank You” to all veterans.  Another way to say thank you is the Pay It Forward event up at Lake of the Woods.

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.  Every year for six years, around 60 men and women converge on Lake of the Woods for a 3 night, 2 day all expenses paid fishing trip.

We purposely make sure there is a nice mix within the group.  In all, veterans come from a variety of states with most ending up being from MN.  People of all types, male and female, various branches of the military, some had to take part in conflicts, some did not.  Some have physical and mental ailments, some do not.  All come together, rubbing elbows with other vets, or family as some might call it.  Veterans spending time with other veterans, this is a main ingredient that makes the Pay It Forward weekend so special. Pay it forward 2019 sponsors

There are so many touching stories.  Some are happy stories.  Some are not so happy.  Like many discuss, for many, even though back home, the “battle” is still real, maybe just in a different form. This event allows veterans to forget about challenges, at least for a few days.  Hand picked participants help with a variety if issues effecting our veterans.  How to peruse the VA medical system?  Where can I go for a job?  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?

Roughly 20 veterans commit suicide every day.  That number is too high.  A number of caring veterans, people, volunteers and folks working with organizations who help veterans are part of the Pay It Forward weekend.  There are a number of key ingredients that come together to make a good recipe.  Everyone of those ingredients are important and in this case, it is no different.  Statistics like this are good to know in respecting Veteran’s Day.

This short segment from Midwest Outdoors TV gives a nice idea of the program, Pay It Forward.

Every year since the outset of this great event, Fishing For Life has been a key partner.  They are a group based out of the Twin Cities but reaching out to folks throughout the region helping tremendously with bringing these deserving people together, identifying issues and providing solutions, creating veterans events that are key to fostering support and so much more.

Each year, very special people who happen to be veterans came to Lake of the Woods and made the event memorable.  We honor and give thanks to all veterans.  Veteran’s Day is another opportunity to remember and to say “thank you”.

Pay it forward veterans 2019, Lake of the Woods

The 2021 Pay It Forward event will be August 30 – September 2, 2021.  If you would like to know more, are interested in your company being a sponsor or if you are a veteran or know of a veteran who may be interested, check out www.payitforwardlow.org or our Pay it Forward page or email Joe Henry at joe.henry@lakeofthewoodsmn.com.

As this week we celebrated Veteran’s Day, it is only appropriate to celebrate all who have served or currently serve in defending what we have in the great United States of America.

Thank you to all who protect and serve!

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