Fun, fishing and food — that’s what some veterans from nearby veterans hospitals had on Friday at an annual fishing event at Kerrville-Schreiner Park.
“I’m loving it,” said a veteran named Ira as he took part in the event. “It’s great out here. Just being outside, it’s calm and peaceful — it’s out of the hospital.”
The program started three years ago with creator Rick Trzcinski, who wanted something to honor his late father.
“I thought it would be great to have an outing like this to get the veterans out of the hospital,” Trzcinski said. “My dad and I used to like to fish together, and we used to like to volunteer together to help the veterans, so this just kind of culminated.”
The event offers the vets the opportunity to get outdoors and do things they love that they don’t often do now, Ira said.
“I love fishing,” he said. “It’s the first chance I’ve had in a long time to get out to fish, and I wasn’t going to let it pass me by.”
Another veteran at the event, Arthur, said he used to fish a lot, too. But on Friday, he did not fish; he said he was more interested in meeting people.
“Some of these folks I don’t know because they’re on a different floor,” Arthur said. “It’s nice getting out, seeing something other than the hospital all the time.”
A change of scenery is one of the main goals of the
program, Trzcinski said.
“My favorite part is serving our vets and getting them out of the hospital to have some fun,” he said. “They don’t get out that much, and it’s just a great thing to do. Being out here is so healing and so beneficial, to get outside and to be together.”
The event is specifically for veterans in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Trzcinski said. Each year, veterans from Kerrville’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center participate, but this year was the first that some veterans came from the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital, which is in San Antonio.
“We have a lot of veterans in this town that go underserved,” Trzcinski said. “They’ve done their job, and now it’s time for us to do ours and provide a service for them.”
Arthur said he appreciates the help the volunteers provide as well as the hot dogs, which he doesn’t usually get to eat at the hospital.
“There’s a lot of volunteers out here, which is really nice,” he said. “I don’t know what we’d do if it wasn’t for all of the volunteers. They’re everywhere.”
service groups were there to help, including the Elk’s Lodge, the American Legion and AMVETS.