The gun fired before dawn and the fishing boats jetted out of Anchor Marina in North East, Maryland. Aboard each boat was a wounded Marine and a professional fisherman, with the mission to return with the five largest fish they could capture by 2pm. The 6th annual fishing tournament was run by Marines Helping Marines, an organization that raises funds for wounded war heroes and their families.

Most of the Marines are long-term patients at Walter Reed or Bethesda Naval Hospitals, and tournament sponsors pay all expenses to bring them to the Upper Chesapeake Bay for the weekend. It was hard to name the highlight of the weekend because there were many, including the roaring standing ovation welcome at Hollywood Casino, riding the bull at Nauti-Goose bar and restaurant, the cigars, as well as the fishing tournament.

The tournament was competitive in a fun-loving-Marine-style way. Marines Helping Marines reported the outcome:

Mike Kaminskas and his wounded Marine partner Ted Lempke tricked a monster largemouth bass into chewing the bait on the end of Ted’s line. Not only was Ted’s 6.68 largemouth the largest bass caught by a Marine, but was also the lunker of the entire tournament. For catching the Marine Big Bass Ted was awarded a new Mac Book-Pro Laptop from Tech for Troops Project.

Based in Richmond, Virginia, Tech for Troops Project collects and refurbishes old computers and donated them to veteran centers with the goal of assisting out-of-work and homeless veterans. Mother and Son owners Laurie and Chris Phillips made the trip from Richmond to present Ted with his new laptop. Please visit their website at www.techfortroops.org.

marines helping marines 2014 grand prize

Tech For Troops Project founders Chris and Laurie Phillips present a new MacBook to Ted Lempke, tournament winner.

There is much more about the tournament’s events and photos here.

Tech For Troops Project has already committed to be back next year!