10.18.18 // Heritage Paper
Heritage Paper co-founder Mike Blower and his crew were proud to participate in the inaugural War Heroes on Water Tournament.
The tournament was a vision of Anthony Hsieh who had often hosted groups of veterans on his fishing fleet. Inspired to do the same on a broader scale, he teamed up with Freedom Alliance and other veterans groups across the country and created the War Heroes on Water Tournament.
The goal of this event was to show appreciation to our service men and women, to bring awareness to the challenges they face upon return from their duty, and to raise funds for organizations who are dedicated to supporting our veterans.
For this event in August, he reached out to some of the top private sportfishing yachts in the Southern California sports fisherman community including Mike Blower and his boat, the Pacific Pioneer.
27 wounded veterans from around the US were teamed up with the owners and crews for an exciting three-day event, including two days on the waters around Catalina, for a challenging and friendly competition.
After onboard training (this was a competition after all), the veterans worked alongside the expert sports fishermen reeling in the plentiful rockfish and bass. Taking turns battling the biggest catches for hours at a time, they brought in a total of 219 fish for a total weight of 1,287 lbs. Various prizes were awarded for the number and weights of different species, including for the biggest catch of the day – a 203 lb blue marlin.
Even more than the shared memories, the bonds of friendship and respect that were formed during this adventure will be lifelong and inspiring to all involved in this great event.
In addition to the donation of the boats and crews, generous donors helped to fund all the costs of the tournament. And a silent auction held the same weekend generated an additional $80,000 for the Freedom Alliance organization.
Tournament director Rod Halperin said it best: “These are America’s finest and it has been our honor to serve them. We can never thank them enough, but we will continue to do our best to show our appreciation for what they have done for our great country.”