Editor’s Note: The event’s Facebook page can be viewed here. For photos from the event, visit our Gallery here.
The 4th Annual Seafarers Waterfront Classic was another overwhelming success, according to organizers as well as anglers who participated in the annual outing.
Held April 26 at the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Maryland (PHC), the event raised funds for the Wounded Warrior Anglers of America (WWA) and the PHC waterfront project. Some 135 individuals comprised this year’s field of anglers. Included were rank-and-file Seafarers, military veterans including 15 WWA members, executives from Seafarers-contracted companies, SIU and PHC officials and staff, family members and other guests.
Wounded Warrior Anglers who took part in the classic were: PFC Robert Harvey (U.S. Army), CPO Daniel Preis (U.S. Navy), Judy Souders, WWA Board of Directors, Sgt. Terrell Brooks (U.S. Air Force), Capt. Frank DePace (U.S. Army), CPO Buck McTee (U.S. Navy), MCPO Ralph Camp (U.S. Navy), PFC Tate Hutchinson (U.S. Army), Seaman Brian Foreman (U.S. Navy), SFC Angel Vazquez (U.S. Army), SFC Kevin Santos (U.S. Army), SFC Harold Burgos (U.S. Marine Corps), Sgt. Gary Benenati (U.S. Army), SPC Jackson Clyde (U.S. Army), SPC Daniel Rakijasic and Capt. David Souders (U.S. Army).
Participants were divided into teams which consisted of at least one wounded warrior angler, a sponsored operator and union official. Teams were transported to their respective fishing locations aboard 17 sponsored boats.
As a group the anglers landed 62 striped bass (AKA rock fish) for a combined weight of 1,393.45 pounds— more than double last’s year’s haul of 680 pounds. The catch was prepared several different ways by chefs from the PHC culinary staff and later served to those who attended the classic’s awards dinner.
Baltimore Port Agent Elizabeth Brown earned the day’s bragging rights for her catch which weighed in at 35.7 pounds. Brown reeled in this “beast” while fishing from the Steven D.
Ellen Silver from the SIU legal office was the classic’s jackpot winner. Her catch was made aboard the Anna Lynn. It tipped the scales at 33.5 pounds and earned her a handsome total in prize money. Rather than pocketing the loot, Silver—keeping the charitable spirit at the fore—donated her winnings equally between the WWA and Doctors Without Borders.
The award for landing the three largest fish by a sponsor was claimed by Ron Perrone of ASB Capital, via the Steiner group aboard the Shea-D-Lady. This party landed five rockfish for a combined weight of 72.7 pounds. Ken Steiner’s 25.5-pounder led his team. Not far behind was Alex Steiner who reeled in a 24 pounder. The catches of both Dave and Phil Steiner each tipped the scales at 23.2 pounds. Cameron Steiner rounded out his party’s catch with a very respectable 20-pounder of his own.
SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker, who again served at the classic’s chairman, was pleased with all aspects of the gathering. “Today’s event was a total success in all regards,” he said. “We were blessed with outstanding weather and everyone appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
“There is no doubt that the causes for which the classic was held are worthwhile,” he continued. “We not only accomplished our objective of raising money for both the Wounded Warriors Anglers as well as the school’s waterfront project, but also had a great time on the water. The day’s events were punctuated with a great meal and awards ceremony. In my book, that’s a winner all the way.
“My hat is off to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make this outing the tremendous success that it was,” he continued. “Their efforts are greatly appreciated, and the event once again proved to be a perfect partnership between the Wounded Warrior Anglers, our contracted operators, the Seafarers International Union and the school.”
Keystone Shipping Executive Philip W.J. Fisher, who served as waterfront project chairman and classic sponsor, echoed Tricker’s sentiments. “This year’s waterfront classic was the latest in a continuing series of outstanding accomplishments that was made possible through cooperation between the SIU and the management of its contracted operators,” he said. “Everyone involved did a terrific job.
“Through their efforts, we were able to put on a great event,” he continued. “It’s simply wonderful that we again were able donate proceeds to the Wounded Warriors Anglers and some to the school.”
“The Wounded Warrior Anglers again had the privilege to attend the 2016 Seafarers Waterfront Classic on April 26 in Piney Point, Maryland,” said Wounded Warrior Anglers President and Co-Founder Capt. David Souders. “It allowed us to bring together 15 of our Warriors—from multiple regions throughout Florida, Maryland and West Virginia—to enjoy such a great uplifting event.
“The Seafarers Waterfront Classic is always one of the highpoints of the year for Judy Souders and me, along with our warriors,” he continued. “Each year, Wounded Warrior Anglers strive to open this great experience and opportunity to different warriors. I’m always amazed by the exemplary treatment and respect that our warriors receive and the honors the Seafarers bestowed upon us. We are truly humbled by their continued generosity.”
Fort Lauderdale Port Agent Kris Hopkins also weighed in. Hopkins was a participant as well an active organizer of the event.
“The fourth Annual Waterfront Classic was an awesome event,” he said “Being in the company of the warriors was extremely rewarding. It was made even more so to see them be able to unwind and enjoy themselves in the relaxed atmosphere made possible during this annual SIU-sponsored outing.
“Those I talked to (Wounded Warrior Anglers) couldn’t say enough about the reverence they were afforded during the entire event and the sense of dignity they garnered from it,” he continued. “Everyone involved in putting on this affair did a fantastic job; hopefully it sent the message that everyone in the SIU is truly appreciative of the warriors’ sacrifices and service they have done for our great country.
“Through this annual event, the union and its contracted companies have has done great things to help all Warriors who need it,” Hopkins concluded. “In my view, if we helped just one Warrior get back on track through this classic, then we’ve made a positive difference. I for one am proud to be part of this annual event and I look forward to many more.”
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