This year the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR), in conjunction with local charter boat captains and businesses, will be hosting the seventh annual Soldiers on the Water from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21.
The mission is simple — to get combat-wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines out on the water for a day of fishing, followed by dinner at Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer.
Last year more than 15 different boats, from offshore party boats to inshore bay boats, were launched to provide a day of fishing and a mini "fishing tournament" for wounded service members and veterans to participate in. Additionally last year, for the first time, separate activities for the caretakers and families of these exceptional service members were provided, ending the day with the opportunity to "cook their catch" for a meal afterward.
Last year, 100 plus combat wounded service members and veterans took part in the fishing tournament and over 50 caretakers and family members participated in additional events such as Big Kahunas, Gulfarium, and the Buccaneer Pirate Ship.
This year ECAR continues its goal to include those that also deserve to be recognized for their continuous care and consideration — the spouses, family, and caretakers of the wounded servicemen and women. This support network has endured unique hardships, of which only a few can relate when watching a loved one on the long road to recovery. They have spent countless hours in waiting rooms, confronted an uncertain future with courage, and above all, nursed and cared for those they loved. The hope is to provide other activities for these caretakers and family members to enjoy while their service member is fishing.
This article was contributed by Emerald Coast Association of Realtors.