Veterans Take Fishing Trip of a Lifetime with Bassmaster Anglers; Optima Healing Heroes In Action

Frankly and KTEN
Frankly and KTEN

MADILL, OK –   One of the biggest fishing tournaments, the Bassmaster Elite Series may have come to an end here in Texoma, but it wasn't over for three professional anglers, who took some lucky veterans on a special trip on Monday.

Their handshakes and laughter says it all. What began as a fishing trip between six strangers, ended in a bond of friendship, thanks to several pounds of bass.

"It's so humbling, because these guys have been through so much, yet they have such a good attitude, said 2016 Bassmaster Champion, Edwin Evers.

On Monday, three bass masters teamed up with three veterans with the wounded warriors in action to see who could reel in the biggest catch of the day.

Evers worked together with the non-profit organization, Wounded Warriors in Action, to put on the fishing event for the second time. 

"Today’s event was amazing, it was a whole lot of fun," said Marine Corps Veteran, Grady Rakestraw.

"It was a blast, you can see I'm sweating so badly, but there were fish left and right," said Marine Corps Veteran, Tyson Scott.

A fishing trip put together by the elite anglers, in hopes of giving back and saying thank you to the three servicemen, Tyson Scott of Amarillo, Texas, Levi Crawford of Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Grady Rakestraw of Elk City, Oklahoma.

"These guys are purple hear recipients, they're the real deal, they've given the ultimate sacrifice for all of our freedoms," said Evers.

Crawford joined the army at the age of seventeen, and was injured during his tour in Afghanistan, when a grenade exploded.

"It came in on the left side, all this is reconstructed and I asked them to make me look like Brad Pitt, that didn't happen, but I'm still here," said Army National Guard Veteran, Levi Crawford.

Like Crawford, U.S. Marine Corps Veterans, Grady Rakestraw and Tyson Scott were also wounded during their time of service.

"I was hit by a mortar in 2006, it was like four days into my deployment," said Scott.

"I was an infantry squad leader; and that's where I took bullet shrapnel to the leg," said Rakestraw.

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Each vet and angler paired off to cast a line, launching their boats at two private lakes on savage farms in Madill.

"It’s just neat to take those guys out there, and introduce them to the sport, to bass fishing," said Evers.

2016 Bassmaster Classic champion, Edwin Evers and partner, Levi Crawford came in first place, their combined catch weighing in at just over seventeen pounds.

"I’m on cloud nine, I can't tell you just how good the experience was," said Crawford.

And while all three veterans may be from different parts of the country, they're thankful a fishing trip of a lifetime has brought together their love for the outdoors and their country as one.

"It was a very unique, and once in a lifetime opportunity," said Rakestraw.

To learn more about the” Wounded Warriors in Action “organization, click here.

If you would like to bid, and join other veterans and Bassmaster Classic champion, Edwin Evers on their next fishing trip, click here.

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