Two active Marines are currently serving in Iraq as part of an elite Marine Corps Raider team. We are using made-up names to protect them during this crucial deployment. However, we want to let you know about their Freedom Alliance experience earlier in the summer.
Getting ready to deploy to the Middle East, Marines Tom and Bradley were chosen to join a bowfishing team that offered us three days of fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. From Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the Marines traveled to Gwynn’s Island, off Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, to meet their hosts.
Jimmy Meadows and father-daughter duo Joe and Meredith Powroznik make up the “Bo Time” team, bowfishing on behalf of their corporate sponsors: Bojangles’® chicken-and-biscuits restaurants and Bass Pro Shops® of Ashland, Virginia.
Jason, a retired Army medic injured in Iraq, came along to cook for the gang. And his cooking is nothing to shrug about—especially his grilled tenderloin. Jason wanted to give back after all Freedom Alliance has done for him and his family, and this was a most welcome way to help.
Our buddy Bruno, who works part-time at Freedom Alliance, participated in this event, as well. Bruno carried caskets at funerals for Marines until a brain injury sustained while serving led to his retirement.
For this long weekend, we rented a home in Cobb’s Creek that featured a common area, screened-in porch, and scenic view of the Piankatank River. It was the ideal setting to bring the servicemen together for laid-back meals and dialogue.
This Airbnb gem was only a few miles from where we would embark with Bo Time, and it came with a friendly neighbor who brought us fresh-caught tuna steaks!
Stingray overpopulation in the bay is causing trouble for the local crab and oyster industry. As such, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries encourages fishermen to help control their numbers.
And that is precisely what the Bo Time crew, along with four servicemen, did.
On the lookout for cow nose and southern stingrays, the bow fishers used a specific routine. Jimmy or Meredith would spot stingrays from the tower, then Joe at the helm would chase them down, while Tom, Bradley, Jason, or Bruno would take aim from the shooting platform at the bow of the boat.
It is a tough but exhilarating sport, and the Bo Time/Freedom Alliance boat caught 25 rays over three days!
Bruno offered his reactions after the trip:
“The best part of this trip was getting to shoot a bow to catch stingrays. This is one thing that made me feel better about myself, and my wife could see a change in me.”
With Bruno’s type of injury, shooting a bow at a moving target is even more of a challenge. But that didn’t mean he was defeated. His accomplishment was huge.
“I hope to be able to do another event,” he said, “where I can be accepted with other military service members on active duty and veterans… I would like to show other service members that their service to the country is appreciated.”
Bruno is doing just that, and this is what Freedom Alliance strives to do as well.
Thank you, Bo Time Bowfishing, for helping make this possible for all of us!