SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (May 5, 2016) - Since launching its American Hero program in late 2013, Lew's has helped more than 1,200 United States military veterans return to a life after service that includes the opportunity to enjoy fishing and do so with their own rods and reels.
True colors shined brightly on anglers at the recent 11th annual Fort Bragg's Warriors on the Water military appreciation tournament.
American Hero reels, rods and reel/rod combinations were developed with "giving back" in mind to those who have served in the U.S. armed forces. A portion of the sales from the special Lew's product line is earmarked for American Hero equipment donations to veterans support organizations, and especially to those with a fishing element in their programs.
"Nothing soothes the mind and soul like a good fishing outing and we're proud to be able to express our sincerest gratitude to the men and women for their service with this heartfelt gesture," said Lew's President Gary Remensnyder. "I have had the privilege to personally attend several events we've supported with products and I always leave from each humbled and moved by the experience.
"I can't think of any better description for our troops than American heroes. We can't say 'thank you' to them loud enough and often enough."
Lew's to date has donated more than 1,200 American Hero combos to veterans programs throughout the country, including FOCUS Marines Foundation (Mo.), Reel American Heroes Foundation (Va.), Take a Warrior Fishing (Ore.), Kentucky Pro Bass Warriors and several others.
While the program's focus is on veterans, Lew's has also provided American Hero products to some events for active duty service members too. Most recently Lew's presented 150 spinning rod and reel combos to the military participants in the 11th annual Warriors on the Water tournament hosted by volunteers in conjunction with Fort Bragg, N.C., as a way to say thank you to all branches of the armed forces.
"Just to be a little tiny part of this great event is really something special," said Team Lew's angler David Fritts, who helped hand out the combos to the anglers. "These men and women were so appreciative to get the awesome Lew's gear and they just kept thanking us over and over. That was nice and all but we're the ones who were here to say thank you.
Lew's pro David Fritts gives a "thank you" and a Lew's American Hero spinning combo to military angler SPC Dakota York.
SGT Joe Jackson (left) and his volunteer boater, NCIS' Michael Lake, had a good day at the 2016 Warriors on the Water tournament.
"I got to tour Ft. Bragg and I learned so much more than I ever knew about what our troops go through in their training. These folks, and this event, are truly amazing."
In early June, Lew's will be providing 150 American Hero combos to the 6th annual Trolling for the Troops fishing day on Minnesota's Mille Lacs Lake supported by several veterans organizations in association with the Camp Ripley Training Center near Little Falls, Minn. On the special fishing day, veterans and recently deployed soldiers are paired with experienced anglers for an enjoyable, stress-free day of friendly fishing competition.
"We do our best to distribute American Hero products around the country so that a variety of events and geographic regions are served," explained Lew's CEO Lynn Reeves. "There are so many great organizations that assist our veterans and I wish we could help them all. The good news is that we're able to do more and more each year as the American Hero product lineup and its success at retail continue to grow. I see the program making another great leap in support for these real life American heroes for 2016 and beyond.
"We have more American Hero products on the horizon for 2017, with the introductions to be made during the annual ICAST fishing tackle trade show scheduled for mid-July in Orlando."
For more information on Lew's and its American Hero program, visit www.lews.com.
Warriors on the Water President Michael Green (center) presents an American flag that flew over a U.S. military facility in Afghanistan to Lew's pro David Fritts (left) and Lew's Vice President Richard LaBauve in appreciation of Lew's support.