Veterans of Foreign Wars Downriver Post 7487 welcomed a handful of recuperating D.C.-area soldiers to Lewiston on Sunday. The men were taken out on three charter boats to fish for bass and lake trout along the river. They then returned to Water Street for lunch at Lower Niagara Moose Lodge No. 584.
Ken Bryan and Eric Matthews of the Brickyard Pub & BBQ provided the food.
“This is our second trip here. We did this last year,” group leader Steve Macdonald said. “I'm with Honored American Veterans Afield, a charity group sponsored by the shooting sports industry. And we have some friends from New York, and they’ve been doing a charity shoot for a number of years. And they asked us to come up and partner with Fin, Fur and Feather Conservation Society. We were real happy to do that. Great event last year. So much fun, that we expanded it and added the fishing this year.
“Yesterday we did some trap and skeet shooting in the morning; pheasant hunting in the afternoon. Today, we did fishing. Had a great time out there. This afternoon, we're having lunch with the VFW; we really appreciate that. Then we're going to go back to 3F for an old-time muzzleloader black powder demonstration; really old-school: flintlock, matchlock, wheel-lock-type guns.”
The group also planned to visit Fort Niagara and Lockport on Monday.
Macdonald served in the Navy. He explained long-weekend trips like this do wonders in boosting each soldier’s morale.
“Overall from experience with volunteers and participants, some of these guys are sick. I‘ve got a marine with me who's 22 years old and he has cancer. Some have come back wounded. Fortunately, these guys, this particular group, they all have all their fingers and toes. Some of them are carrying unseen wounds. And it allows them to build that confidence back up, that they can get out – they can go hunting, shooting, fishing,” he said. “It's a little easier to see when you’ve got somebody in a wheelchair and you get them out on the range and they can prove to themselves – we're just helping them – that they can still do what they used to do.”
VFW Cmdr. Bill Justyk said, “We got hooked up with the 3F Club. They would like to know if we would help them out in any way that we possibly can, to show these guys a good time while they're here. So, of course, being the VFW, you know, we said, ‘Absolutely.’ And then everything just works out for the best.
“We would like to thank the 3F Club, and Ken and Eric from the Brickyard, who are just tremendous to our local veterans, and our wounded warrior veterans, also. We would like to appreciate what they do for us every single day in Lewiston.”
Justyk also thanked VFW member Bruce Sutherland for coordinating lunch at the Moose Lodge.