Friday, March 1, 2019

“Vets on the Ice” fishing shack open house catches the spirit of its mission

By Lorraine Glowczak

It was a party on ice as approximately 40 people visited one another, ate warm beans and hot dogs while enjoying the transformed and handicapped accessible ice shack for veterans on Friday, February 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Located off Kent’s Landing on Long Lake in Naples, the visitors to the ice shack open house included residents of the Maine Veterans' Homes in South Paris who got to take advantage of the wheelchair ramp as they wheeled themselves into the warmth of the ice shack to ice fish, participating in the winter activity they love best and now made possible by this program.

This is the first year for the “Vets on the Ice” program and is a collaborative effort among many organizations. “The “Vets on the Ice” project is a collaboration between the “Vets on the Water”, The Sebago Lake Anglers Association, Field-Allen Post 148 in Windham and Naples Post 155,” stated Dave Tanguay, Post 148 Adjutant.

Tanguay also stated that the project was conceived last summer when he and “Vets on the Water” Organizer, Tim Hoffman, were fishing the Kennebec. “Tim mentioned that he had three sheds that could be easily converted to Ice Sheds and wanted to place one this coming winter in the Lake Regions of Sebago for use by disabled vets,” Tanguay said. “So, I brought the idea to the Sebago Lake Anglers Association (SLAA). The shed, which Tim donated, was delivered in December to Naples, reconfigured with a wider door and an eight-foot ramp to accept a wheel chair as well as the instillation of a stove and a 14 ft Flag pole to fly the colors.” also organizes a similar program during the summer in the Rockland area. “Vets on the Water” works in collaboration with the marine and fishing industry along with the boating public to provide water activities for veterans. Hoffman wanted to continue this concept for veterans, giving them, especially disabled veterans, an opportunity to ice fish without having to care for an ice shack and the work it takes to get it on ice.

Along with Tanguay and Hoffman; Bob Chapin, President of the SLAA and Dan Smart SLAA member were present for the open house. “I’d like to thank them for all the dedication to bring this program together,” Tanguay said. “Both Bob and Dan have joined the Field-Allen Post Windham, so our future collaboration in all things fishing will be easier.”

Although the ice shack, placed on Long Lake in mid-January, had a slow start with visitors, Tanguay stated that the shed is now in full swing, hosting area veterans and more. “It has supported small vet groups, youth groups from Camp Sunshine, as well as groups from VAST.” 

Tanguay also stated that during the open house, more interest in using the shed has developed. “The VAST coordinator stopped by. She has a group coming on March 7th and is looking to possibly get one more session after that. Also, a vet showed up midafternoon and made arrangements to use the shed with his family the next day.” 

Although no fish were caught during the open house, the purpose of the event was successful, catching the spirit of its mission.

For veterans who wish to use the “Veterans on the Ice” shed, contact; Bob Chapin at 517-217-1700 or 207-655-1028 or Dan Smart at 207-329-7269.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your Comments Help Improve Your Community.