Sixteen wounded warriors and nine caregivers will be treated to a stress free day either on the water fishing or getting pampered at Spa 33 this weekend.
Seventy-five percent of the warriors and caregivers who were invited to take a part in the festivities are from Lee and Collier counties.
David and Judy Sounders, founders of Wounded Warrior Anglers of America, host a few retreats a year to help rehabilitate the mind, body and soul through mentoring the warriors while out on the water fishing. They also decided to include the caregivers, since they are the core of the family, which is how the weekend of activities kicked off.
The wounded warriors and caregivers will arrive in town Friday when they will be treated to a captain's dinner at Miceli's Restaurant.
Vinny Miceli of Miceli's Restaurant said they think Wounded Warrior Anglers is a great organization that has done nothing but good things for the area, which is why they wanted to host the dinner. He said they try to be a part of as many events as they can because getting involved in the community is a big part of what Miceli's is all about.
The dinner will provide the warriors with the opportunity to meet the captain that they will go fishing with Saturday morning. There are eight captains donating their time. Two or three warriors will be paired up with one of the eight captains on their boat to provide an intimate and personal experience while out on the water.
Dave said it is a good way for everyone to get to know each other and form friendships while fishing.
Those who would like to stop by Miceli's to meet the warriors are welcome to do so between 6-9 p.m., Friday, April 12.
"The public is welcome to say thank you for their service and say hello," David said, adding that it will also provide the opportunity for the public to see how their donations are helping the community.
Those who eat at the restaurant on Friday are encouraged to mention that they support Wounded Warrior Anglers to their server, so 10 percent of their bill will be donated to the organization.
In addition to the dinner, the Grayson Roger's Band will perform from 6-10 p.m.
Dave said they will also have the Wounded Warrior Anglers' 18-foot Nautic Star, 1810 Nautic Bay boat on display for those who would like to purchase a ticket. Tickets to win the boat are one for $20 or six for $100.
Raffle tickets for an acrylic painting, which is an original by Linda Kegley, will also be available Friday for $2 apiece or $20 for an arms length. The painting depicts the Wounded Warrior Anglers of America's Original Redfish Poker Fishing Tournament, which will be held May 26.
The festivities will continue Saturday, as the warriors and caregivers gather at the Olde Fish House Marina around 7 a.m. to enjoy breakfast. There will be an opening ceremony at 8 a.m. with a reel and rod presentation for the warriors and caregivers who are going fishing.
The captains will then take the warriors and a few caregivers out on the water to go fishing around 8:30 a.m. As they are fishing, the caregivers will head over to Spa 33 where they will enjoy a manicure, pedicure, facial and massage.
Everyone will gather at the Olde Fish House Marina around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, April 13, for a motorcycle flag ceremony, as well as a speech by Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan to welcome the warriors.
Again the public is invited to stop by and say hello to the wounded warriors.
"If there weren't places like Miceli's and the Olde Fish House, we wouldn't be as successful as we are," David said. "They are a big part of what we do."
The organization is also entering Team Wounded Warrior Anglers into charitable fishing tournaments, to provide the warriors with additional opportunities to go fishing and relieve some of the stresses they have.
David said he entered a local wounded warrior team into the Bobby Holloway Fishing Tournament this past weekend.
"We bring in warriors to fish the charitable fishing tournaments while giving back to the community and accomplishing our mission by helping the warriors," he said.