I just returned to Bragg and wanted to extended a very big thank you. The MAD event in Morehead, to me , was very successful. It was a very organized and professionally managed event that others should emulate. The staff was helpful and dedicated to insuring that the Veterans received excellent treatment. The food was outstanding with the Pork chops being the star of the meal. Most importantly hats of to the captain and Crew member of the CAT TRAX. Even though the seas challenged us that day myself and Rob, the other service member, were treated to an excellent day on the water. I have the upmost respect for all whom had a hand in conducting a successful mission. I will continue to be involved in some capacity as long as this organization is active. If there is any assistance that I can provide fell free to contact me.
- SGT James R. Lee
For the last two years I have attended the MAD fishing trips and cookouts and have loved every moment of each! As the Family Readiness Officer for my squadron I helped set up both trips, and all year long I have Marines approach me asking when the next trip will be. This is truly something ALL Marines in my unit look forward to attending each year. If there is ANY way to reach out to other charters for their participation it would be GREATLY appreciated and I hope this letter may help. Thank you so much for your time.
- Sgt Jamie Crawford, USMC via email
I have roughly 8-10 Marines from CNATT at New River and we were on the Carolina Princess last year and we had the most amazing time. If at any way possible we would love to go. This trip is something we look forward to every year now and are hoping you can find room for us. Thanks for your consideration!
- Sgt Jacob Winchester, USMC via email
From the MAD Forum
Thank you Tim Baker an family!!
I just wanted to say thanks to Tim and his family again.. I can’t say it enough. You made the day awesome and we caught a ton of Black Sea bass. What a great day!
God bless you and your family.. along with all the rest of the volunteers at MAD. Y’all did an amazing job I can’t wait to do it again!
From the MAD Forum
I have to say, THANK YOU to every single person involved with today’s event! From the fishing captains, to the volunteers who organized it all, to the people boating families around for tours, to the businesses who gave support, to the webmasters who support this site… and most importantly, the military members, both active duty and retired, who support our country…
Again, THANK YOU!!
I ran my boat in this event for the first time this year, and I can say that I have never participated in an event that had better people all around. I met some great people today (and last night at the captains meeting), had a blast running my boat and putting my guys on fish, meeting everyone involved, and just giving a little something back to all the guys who support our country! :flag
I know for a fact we didn’t catch the most, nor the biggest, but we had a blast today. I hope next years event increases in size in direct proportion to this year, and I hope to meet many more next year.
God bless everyone who took the time to plan, organize, run, and fish in today’s event. Hopefully sooner, but if not, see yall next year!
From the MAD Forum
Im sure youve heard it before, and yall will hear it again…but thank you for starting this. I did not get to partake in this event, however being active duty, I know what the hardships are. When I joined and got to Havelock in 1999, yeah Im old too, we were not appreciated. Then Sept 11th happened, and we’ve been at war since. I will not bore you with details as Im sure yal;l know, or can google it, but it is very nice to know that the local community actually care about the military, and what we do. From my side of the fence, I cant put into words what we go thru, with deploying, having our family apart, and all that. Think of it as leaving your family for 9 months, and only talk to them on the phone once a week. Im sure most of yall have already done this, or at least thought about it. Is it an easy task?> No, not its not. Its honestly terrible, and I dont wish it on anybody, but its the life that we have chosen, and ask nothing in return……nothing. Most of us are humble, as its a job to us, but to you, its more. To each and every single one of you, I personally thank you for making what MAD is today, and I plan to carry it on up here in Virginia. MAD 8 was a complete success, and Im torn as to wether volunteer my boat, or go out as a participant. Not dure, but will probably voluneteer my boat so I can help my fellow brothers and sisters, and get on some fish myself. Also, the majority of the time, things like this are done by former military, and not the civilian sector. Another accomplishment that yall have down, thru hard work, and perseverance. Thank you.
From the MAD Forum
Rachel and I took the golf cart for a ride down to the docks a couple of times to view the kids fishing and to see the activities there.
We saw family members either walking with strollers to Jaycee or from Jaycee. We would stop and chat with them all……gosh some of the cutest and most well mannered kids I have ever seen…all smiling like crazy.
We stopped with one young lady with a stroller with a small child and two older kids tagging along…well scrubbed and neat. We asked the young lady if her husband was out fishing….. and then we had a chuckle. The lady said that her husband had never been fishing before and was really really excited. She said that he was so excited that he could not sleep the night before for fear of over sleeping and missing the boat….gotta love it…and them.
Then we were on the docks watching the kids fishing. Smiles all around. There was an old man in a wheel chair slowly making his way along the dock and grinning at the kids. Close to him was an equally old lady who turned out to be his wife….Man for that age they sure did talk bawdy …gotta love it. Anyway, they lived in the high rise building (Harbor View) that over looks Jaycee Park/Docks. They kept on and on as to how great this was to see the folks out there and the Marine Band and they were giddy with the extra excitement.
MAD touches many folks.
From Central North Carolina Time-Warner News:
Service members from around NC gather in Morehead City for Military Appreciation Day
MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. — Service members from all over the state traveled to Morehead City for the eighth annual Military Appreciation Day.
It started well before daylight, but they didn’t care.
“Well that’s okay, we’re used to it,” said Army National Guard Sgt. Kendrick Bowman, of Raleigh. “[It’s] the military.”
Service members like Bowman and 1st Lt. Stephen Driscoll, who just got back from Afghanistan two weeks ago, were looking forward to a day of fishing.
“Some of the locals that I was talking to said it would be a great chance to get some of the young Marines out on the water and see how nice North Carolina is and kind of the beauty of fishing,” said Driscoll.
He was one of nearly 120 other boat owners that volunteered to take close to 550 troops out for the day.
“We know what it’s like to be away from home, and we know what these families go through,” said Mike Cockrell, a boat owner who volunteered to take troops out. “So this was a perfect opportunity for us to give back to these guys who give their lives for us and serve our country.”
Scott Krieger, boat coordinator for Military Appreciation Day said the “fishing community is very passionate about our country.”
“And they want to share what they love doing, with troops who have probably never even step foot on a boat before,” Krieger said.
Boat owners and local businesses provided everything from the rods to the tackle, free for the troops.
“It makes me feel amazing,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brett Jenkins, of the U.S. Army. “I mean it’s what we do. It’s why we do what we do. And there’s certainly nothing that makes me feel thankless when I’m here.”
Driscoll said the day meant a lot to him.
“Especially just getting back and seeing the support from family and loved ones and then seeing the support from the local community is just wonderful,” he said.
From the MAD Forum:
Just got back home here in Apex. Long weekend but we loved every minute of it. Braden had a blast docking boats and unloading fish, I have never cleaned so many fish at one time. This is a good thing, more fish caught increases the troops fun factor and they can go back and let more troops know about MAD. Braden and I are truly blessed to be a little part of this whole gift of giving to those who so freely gave back to us.I want to thank each and everyone of you for a job well done and allowing us to be part of MAD!! :flag
* I am also thankful for the Pork BBQ, hotdogs, burgers, lemonade, hush puppies, slaw, deserts, sweet taters and last but not least he porkchops!!!! :yahoo: :salute:
I’ll post some pictures later!
Rick and Braden Gillmor
From the MAD Forum:
After a not so wonderful start of the Year ending in 13 had a great Day on June 1st, got a good fish on the boat just at the end of fishing, the fish came with lots of grins on the boat. Got rid of my sea legs, but cannot seem to shake the grin. Don’t Ya’ Just Love It. Already thinkin on finding me some troops to go with me after some big reds in The Pamlico later in the season. Anyone know when is the best time to start out for those big reds, so can make plans to go up the canal and hang a right at Oriental. Anyone done it beofre that could share? , Still Grinning Steve,
From The Globe, Newspaper of Camp Lejeune:
Morehead City honors current, former service members for their sacrifices
Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
Many organizations host events to honor current and former service members for their service.
The local community of Morehead City, N.C., participated in the recognition June 2, sponsoring a day of fishing, free food, various activities and music for anyone who serves or served in the military and their families.
The seventh annual Military Appreciation Day, hosted by the Morehead City community, is coordinated and ran fully by volunteers.
More than 100 boats were donated for the occasion, offering the opportunity to take a free ride around Atlantic Beach and for a day of fishing.
“This event requires the volunteers to do a lot of preparation months ahead of time,” said John Laughry, a volunteer who participated in MAD for the last few years. “We do everything from getting volunteers to cook the food, finding people to donate boats to take people for rides, and arranging bands and recreational activities for the children.”
The event lasted all day, providing fun for all ages. People who got to the event early were able to sign up for fishing out on a boat through the duration of the festivities.
Others fished off the edge of the docks and were able to catch various types of fish that strayed too close to shore. Two popular choices among the smaller children were a bouncy house and a dunk tank.
“The goal of an event like this is just to show appreciation to people who chose to defend our country,” said Laughry. “We like to hold an all-day event where they can bring their whole family to enjoy themselves. We just want them to know we are grateful for everything they did or are still doing.”
The event concluded with a pig roast and a chicken dinner as a way of thanking the service members one last time before the day ended.
“There are other smaller events in the area, but this is the one big day we put on every year for the group who is in this area,” said Laughry.
John Poloskey, one of the main coordinators for the yearly event, said one of the biggest issues they face is people signing up and not attending.
“When we plan for a certain number of people to show up and a fraction of them don’t, it makes things harder on the volunteers,” he said. “We understand people sometimes have something come up last minute, whether it be work or family related, but we would appreciate a heads-up either by phone call or on our website.”
The MAD group sponsors other events throughout the year to show their gratitude to those who serve.
From the MAD Forum
An Honor and a Privilege
I just got done cleaning my boat after a full day with two young Marines. We got on some fish, had a few laughs and enjoyed a great day on the water. As I made the short drive home, I could not help but think about what an honor it was to participate. This was the highlight of the fishing season for me.
From the MAD Forum:
Warm and Fuzzies!
As usual,it is our extreme honor to host one or two or our nations finest for a fun day on the water. However,our guest this year was simply top of the heap. Lots of Speckled Trout and “Rat Reds” with a couple of keeper flounder thrown in……He was thrilled! Thank you Luke Loudermilk,and may the Lord protect you wherever your travels take you.
From Captain John Cawthern
All I can say is that if you never did a Military Appreciation Day Event, DON’T MISS ANOTHER YEAR !
I was contacted by a former Marine Bryan Pichford about treating some Marines to a day offshore and he generously stepped up and offed to cover the trip. These guys and gals put their lives on the line for all of us, get moved from place to place, make modest livings, and ask for little in return. Bryan is a MAD veteran and was as excited as me to meet the troops and show them our appreciation. We both knew that this was gonna be one of those trips that you will never forget.
We headed out of the inlet about 6am. with a prompt, courteous, respectful, and polite group of 4 Marines and everything couldn’t have went smoother. The ocean greeted us with calm seas and a show complete with waterspouts, rainbows, rain clouds and sunshine….all at the same time. We ran offshore of the storms and enjoyed the show as we sat in flat seas for our first drop.
The first drop was a warm up to get the guys used to the equipment,
learn their way around the boat. They soon enough had the brine tank
filling up with some nice triggers and had all played catch and release
with some nice starter sized amberjacks and almaco jacks.
After bringing up triggers 2 at a time it was time to take the guys for a
little ride on the “Pain Train”. We pushed out a bit deeper and came
across the marks I was looking for.
The guys all rotated through some nice sized Jacks and almacos on the
jigs. One brave Marine tried doing 2 in a row and collapsed to the deck
We released a bunch and threw a couple in the brine tank to be enjoyed
on the grill in the future.
After having more than enough triggers and pulling on Aj’s, we made a
run to the Black Sea bass grounds and the guys went to work filling out
their limits with some excellent sized sea bass, and some other tasty
critters as well.
The group had a blast bringing up the groceries on those stops. I wish I
took some pictures of the nice ones you fellas put on ice!
I gotta tell ya, I am a better person after meeting all these fine men. I was amazed at how this group acted as true Brothers in every sense. They cheered each other on during the fights, helped each other selflessly, baiting hooks, removing hooks, counting fish, cutting baits, whatever was needed by one, the rest were there.
Their respect for each other and their politeness and obedience to the Captain will never be forgotten, it was a stark reminder of just how much out men and women in the armed forces will put themselves aside for the benefit of others.
I cannot Thank them all enough, and a special Thanks to Bryan Pitchford for bringing the group together. Spending a day on the water with you all is something I will never forget.
Enjoy the couple of hundreds of pounds of delicious fish you fellas put aboard, and I am sure your friends and families back at base will all enjoy the bounty, because, one thing I am sure of is that you guys know how to share and bring joy to other people’s lives.
Also a big Thanks to all the volunteers who put this all together from the organizers, to the cooks, and the fish cleaning volunteers. Thanks again for giving me a day I will never forget!