Testimonials

David Breaker, Veteran
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
July 2010

Dear Anchors Away Program,
 
I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Kings for Vets Fishing Tournament aboard the Quad Zeus.com fishing boat provided by Cummins MerCruiser Diesel.
 
I am a patient at the VA Hospital in the Veterans Enrichment Center (VEC).  Staff in the VEC told me about the tournament last Wednesday.  They helped me figure out how to make my going along possible.  I have fished all my life but never have done any offshore fishing.  When I heard about it, I was very excited about going out to try to catch some King Mackerel.  I was wondering about sea sickness, couldn't sleep the night before, and generally was looking forward to the opportunity to see how good a fisherman I was.
 
The crew made it all so easy.  It was fun, exciting and overwhelmingly joyful.  It was like a band of brothers.  We all got real tight.  All of the crew, Ken, Chad, Chris, Captain Mike, David, and everyone aboard made for a great day on the water.  Leaving the harbor and getting out of sight of land, I was able to leave everything behind and just focus on having a good time and catching monster fish!
 
I would like to thank Cummins MerCruiser Diesel for providing the boat and crew and Ashley and Dave for making this happen.  I hope to be able to do this again.
 
Thank you again for the unforgettable day.
 
- David Breaker

James "Jimmy" Wells
Osteogenesis Imperfecta
June 25, 2010

The day started at 3:30am when I left the house with Anchors Away.  We were soon off to Mount Pleasant where the king mackerel tournament (called Kings for Vets, proceeds went to disabled Vets) would be starting, along with the fact that the rest of our team, crew and boat were.  The boat was beautiful, 60 footer with 4 600hp prototype engines, a prototype  boat that Cummins MerCruiser Diesel had agreed to loan us the Quad Zeus for this particular outing (Quadzeus.com). Cummins employees captained and mated the boat, their names were Ken, Chad, and Chris.

Setting up went smoothly even in the dark.  Everyone arrived on time.  Several of the guys on the trip lifted my manual wheelchair over the side of the boat around 5 am, there were no problems and the transfer was smooth.  I was then placed on the deck into a special marine beanbag that is designed to hold you in safely on deck and still allow you to catch fish from a sitting position.  Captain Mike procured the bag, he was also the Anchors Away Program’s Captain aboard.  We left dock at 5:30am.

The engines roared for an hour and a half, and stopped just before 7 am.  That was the time the tournament began.  The bait and lines went into the water at exactly that time, and immediately we got 2 hits.  Sure enough they were king mackerel.  We all took turns over the course of the day trying to reel in the fish.  The boat moved from position to position all day long trying to find the best locations for king mackerel.  We lost much bait, but got many hits and brought on board quite a few king mackerel.  Even 3 dolphin fish, and a barracuda.  There were even fish we could not keep because they did not make for good eating.

I had recently had a reconstructed shoulder due to the Brittle Bone disease (Osteogenesis Imperfecta) that I have.  The doctor and physical therapist gave me the green light to go on this trip (If not funded there will be no more).  All I could stand was 2 turns at the reel, and it was awesome.  I always wanted to go deep sea fishing, but was never able to find a way to go, and Anchors Away made my dream come true.

The two times that I took the reel I managed to bring fish aboard.  The first was a Remora, according to the crew onboard it was the biggest they had ever seen.  I worked on that fish forever, and it paid off.  After what seemed like an eternity I won the battle, and aboard it came.  The Remora was around eleven (11) pounds.  Unfortunatly they do not make for good eating and so we threw it back into the sea.

The second time I took the reel things went much smoother and quicker.  It was a catch I could see coming at the boat as I reeled it in.  An 8 pound dolphin fish came aboard the ship.  I had become a sports fisherman, and I was proud of it.  That is one thing that everyone Anchors Away could get aboard the ship felt.  Proud, happy and realizing we were capable of deep sea fishing and so much more.

The tournament ended at 5 pm and we just made it back, the captain opening those engines wide to get back in time.  Our boat took  10th , 11th ,and 12th  place for king mackerel.  We all, including I, brought lots of fish home to eat.  Both a bag of king Mackerel and one of dolphin fish.

A friend had once told me that there was a non prophet organization that allowed the disabled to get recreation on the water, but he could not remember the name nor how to get into contact with them.  Then one afternoon, I was taking my daily roll in my wheelchair when a couple stopped and introduced themselves.  They ran the Anchors Away Program.  It turned out that they lived a block and a half from my home.  I have been a volunteer for the Program ever since and this was my first trip with the Anchors Away Program.  They deserve all the funding you can give them.  Such a great concept should not fall by the waste side.

- James “Jimmy” Wells


Camille Barwick

June 22, 2010

I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your wonderful program. My son, Brian Spillman participated for the first time Sunday and absolutely love it. It was most fun he has had since we moved to Charleston about 7 years ago. I found out about yall through Tommy at Adaptive Limbs and Brace on Wapoo Road here in Charleston. Thanks again for your dedication to making it possible for giving the disablled a chance to have fun. I was so impressed how well organized your organization was. Sincerely Camille Barwick