Eric S. Smith wins Wounded Warrior Fishing Tournament at Thurmond Lake

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Eric S. Smith, a retired staff sergeant of the National Guard, won last weekend’s Wounded Warrior Fishing Tournament at Thurmond Lake.

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Tony Shepard (left) and Herman L. Ross Sr. show off stripers they landed during last weekend's Wounded Warrior Fishing Tournament at Thurmond Lake.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Tony Shepard (left) and Herman L. Ross Sr. show off stripers they landed during last weekend's Wounded Warrior Fishing Tournament at Thurmond Lake.

The event, held at the Dorn Tournament Facility and sponsored by the Striped Bass Conservation Coalition in South Carolina, teamed 13 soldiers from Fort Gordon’s Warrior Transition Unit and other areas with boat captains for a day on the water to compete for prizes and money.

Retired 1st Sgt. Herman L. Ross Sr., of Grovetown, celebrated his 80th birthday on the day of the tournament.

“It was my first time on a boat fishing,” he said. “I have fished with cane poles from the banks, but never fishing in a boat. It was good to be able to catch fish.”

Sgt. Brad Willett, of Charlie Company of the Warrior Transition Unit, who was teamed up with Kenneth Brooks, of the fishing team Just Wanta Fish, found out about the event when it was announced in formation.

“It was great to be able to be on the water,” he said. “It is good to see a foundation of people supporting soldiers.”

Staff Sgt. Christopher Marti, also of Charlie Company, was grateful for the fishing opportunity.

“I have been isolating myself, so it was great to be able to get out,” he said.

Money and prizes for the event were raised through local sponsorships and fundraisers, according to tournament director Mark K. Crawford Sr.

“It was rewarding talking to the soldiers and seeing how much they appreciated the opportunity to get them out of the house and on the water. It gets their mind off their problems, even if only for a little while.”

Warren Turner, SBCC president, said the event would have been a success “even if only one of our American Heroes had been able to fish. We had 13 who were able to enjoy a day on the water.”

Next year’s tournament will be the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

Results

1st Place: $350, Eric Smith, fished with Tim Barton

2nd Place: $250, Monroe Lessemer, fished with Ricky DuBose

3rd Place: $200, Joe Smith, fished with Evan Williams

4th Place: $150, Herman Ross, fished with Tony Shepard

5th Place: $125, Steve Hammond, fished with Robert Buist

6th Place: $120, Clarence Palmer, fished with Ted Boluio

7th Place: $100, Bettye Brewer, fished with Tank Walker

8th Place: $100, Chris Marti, fished with Roy Phillips

9th Place: $100, Patrick Harman, fished with Charlie Woods

10th Place: $100, Will Lott, fished with Ryan Tripp

11th Place: $50, Bobby Green, fish with Phil Roper

12th Place: $50 Wal-Mart gift card, Willet Brannon, fished with Kenneth Brooks

13th Place: $25 Wal-Mart gift card, Travis Kelly, fished with Tim White

Big fish

1. Eric Smith 25.08lbs., $50 Wal-Mart gift card

2. Joe Smith 11.80 lbs., $25 Wal-Mart gift card


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