Info from: fishingwire.com
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Lew's announces its commitment to support the Take a Warrior Fishing (TWF) program with rod and reel combos through its American Hero program. Both programs have launched in recent years and share a focus on men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
"We introduced our American Hero product line in 2013 as a way for us to say 'thank you' to veterans by supporting organizations who help them during their transition back into civilian life, especially those groups with fishing activities," said Lew's President Gary Remensnyder. "Fishing offers therapeutic tendencies when it comes to knocking down barriers, reconnecting with family and friends, and making new acquaintances. We also know and have a lot of respect for TWF's leadership, Jay Yelas."
Yelas, a longtime professional bass angler and member of the Team Lew's pro staff, is TWF's incoming executive director. He has been a C.A.S.T. (Catch A Special Thrill) for Kids Foundation board member for about 10 years, most recently serving as president. TWF was initiated in 2011 under that non-profit organization which has been delivering youth programs for nearly 25 years. Founder Jim Owens is retiring as executive director in July, when Yelas officially takes the reigns.
"80 percent of our programs are youth events, but the Take a Warrior program is rapidly gaining momentum," Yelas explained. "We had about a dozen TWF events across the country last year and more than that planned for this year, including several new venues, such as Lake Murray, S.C., Lake Eufaula, Ala., Stockton Lake, Mo., and others.
"Each TWF event is unique, but all are held in honor of veterans, or sometimes for those who are still serving our country. Some are structured like actual tournaments, while others are just fun fishing events. Volunteers who care and want to do something special for our country's troops make every one of them possible. We are so thankful for the wonderful volunteers."
Yelas said his tournament fishing career takes him all across the country and allows him to promote C.A.S.T.-related events everywhere he goes, and he personally attends many of them.
"Whether it's a TWF or C.A.S.T. youth event doesn't matter. The satisfaction is the same; lots of big smiles and good feelings
come from each. We couldn't do any of it without the support of our volunteers and sponsors. I'm especially proud of Lew's stepping up to help out with the American Hero combos. It's unbelievable to see the reaction from our Warriors when they find out the rod and reel combos are theirs to keep," Yelas added.
Lew's American Hero rods, reels, and rod and reel combos are available for retail purchase across the country. A portion of the profits from the sale of these and other specially identified Lew's products allows the donation of American Hero products to organizations like C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation.
Veterans programs that Lew's has supported with American Hero products include the Reel American Heroes Foundation, FOCUS Marines Foundation, Warriors on the Water and others.
For more information on Lew's American Hero program, visit Lews.com/AmericanHero. For more information about C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation and its TWF program, visit CastforKids.org and click on "programs."