When SI Yachts owner and founder Frank Bongiorno heard about the opportunity to send a group of military veterans out on a day fishing, he didn't balk at the opportunity. Approached by the Freedom Alliance organization that supports veterans in a variety of ways, Frank knew what the power of a day on the water fishing can do for the soul. (Scroll down for fishing photos...)
"We need to do everything we can to honor and support our veterans," said Frank. "We have several team members that served, including our own Jay Hendrix (Vice President) who was a helicopter pilot in the Army."
The Freedom Alliance organization advances "the American heritage of freedom by honoring and encouraging military service, defending the sovereignty of the United States, and promoting a strong national defense." The non-profit group does everything from creating outdoor adventures for veterans, provides scholarships, rehabilitation services, repairs homes, and much more.
"It was important to us to provide the absolute best day on the water fishing that we could," continued Frank. "And what better boat to do it in than the 58 Convertible built by Viking Yachts. Viking stands side-by-side with the military community and is an American builder. The fishing out of Los Sueños Report & Marina in Costa Rica is phenomenal so we knew the group was going to be successful."
Onboard the Viking 58C were two Marines, a Navy Corpsman (a medic who served with the Marine infantry), and a soldier. All of the veterans in the group fought in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2012, a harrowing time to be in the country.
"The weather was perfect - overcast, and not too hot - as we traveled Southwest to catch fish," said Pepper Ailor, a Director for Freedom Alliance. "We caught 13 Tuna and 3 Mahi - an epic trip for these guys. We also caught a booby which needed a few minutes to recover and had the most entertaining look on its face. We all had a good laugh."
The group met at El Pelicano for dinner after and got to eat the fish they caught. "Their excitement was contagious!" continued Pepper. "You gave these men a wonderful memory to balance the horrors of war in their life – thank you for that."
Below are a few photos from the trip! If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to Freedom Alliance, you can visit their website here: https://freedomalliance.org/
(Below: The water was slicked out for the group's day out fishing.)
(Below: The group of veterans getting ready to slay it!)
(Below: Meeting the crew on board DEALERS CHOICE, Viking 58.)
(Below: Yellowfin Tuna being gaffed.)
(Below: Nice Mahi Mahi caught by one of the Veterans on board.)
(Below: Another Yellowfin Tuna caught!)
(Below: The group together on DEALERS CHOICE after a great day fishing.)
(Below: Everyone was so excited before, during, and even after the trip. What a day!)
Want to see all of the pictures taken? Visit: https://photos.freedomalliance.org/SupportOurTroopsProgram/2022/2022-12-12-Offshore-Experience/