For the second year, the East Valley Marine Corps League, Detachment 1296 of Sun Lakes, planned a seven-day Alaska fishing trip for Marine Wounded Warriors. Ron Enderle, detachment member, coordinated with his friends, Harley and Farrel Lewis of Ketchikan, Alaska, who own a 71-foot yacht. The detachment paid for air and ground expenses from Phoenix to Ketchikan. Then the Lewises donated all of the boat time and related costs.
There were three wounded Marine veterans who experienced the week. Sergeant Maynard is a double amputee who was on his second tour in Afghanistan when an IED exploded. He was accompanied on the Alaska journey by his 11-year old son. Corporal Norvell is 100 percent disabled, combat related, and Staff Sergeant Mussa is 80 percent disabled. The group was also accompanied by Gunnery Sergeant Ryan Cesky who is the District Injured Support Coordinator for our region’s Wounded Warrior Regiment.
The group arrived in Ketchikan on June 17 and departed aboard the Lewises’ Lady Crystal. They spent the first three days sightseeing in Misty Fiords, Walker Cove, Rudyard Bay and Punchbowl Cove, which resembles Yosemite with its high granite walls and waterfalls. On Saturday, the 20th, they moved to Kah Shakes Cove and met up with two fishing captains, Dale Busch and Rick Reed from Ketchikan, who brought along their fishing boats and gear. The Marines spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday fishing and trapping shrimp and crab. The fishing produced rock cod red snapper, salmon and halibut. All of the catch was processed on board and frozen fresh. Six 25-pound boxes of frozen fish returned to Arizona with the group.
The Marines enjoyed the trip and expressed disbelief that they had this opportunity to fish in Alaska and live that full week on a comfortable private boat. The following comments are from Staff Sergeant Mussa:
“The best parts about the trip were getting to see animals I have always dreamed about seeing, including brown bears, black bears, killer whales, and grey whales, and hearing wolves in the wild, and being able to catch some of my favorite fish.”
“For someone considering going on this trip, I would say it is the trip of a lifetime. This trip is worth every moment. Getting to bring home fish you caught in the wild, nothing can come close that. If I could go again next year I would. Absolutely an amazing trip, start to finish.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping make one of my dreams come true.”