Veteran’s Outreach Mission
“Take a Vet Fishing”

“A blind person fishing? Are you crazy? I had been telling my 13 year old
'Dad can’t do that.'
I was wrong.
I caught no fish but I caught a little more of my manhood sitting at the foot of that cross.”
Bill Cray

The Veterans Outreach Mission provides Christian outreach and fellowship to our Veterans in the CT VA Healthcare System and beyond. We offer friendship and comfort to the vets and their staff through relaxing activities that get them out of the clinical environment.

"Come, follow me" Jesus said "and I will make you fishers of men" - Matthew 4:19

In 2011 "Take a Vet Fishing" enters its fifth year of service to our veterans. The mission has grown to become a year round program, which includes ice fishing and fly tying over the winter months.

In 2010 we took 551 vets out of the hospital for a relaxing day of fishing. This was accomplished over the course of 14 trips and included a variety of fresh and salt water trips. The trips included vets from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We now have two additional groups providing help. They are Trout Unlimited and C.A.R.E. (CT Aquatic Resources Education).

From a mission standpoint, there are many beneficiaries. Most important are the veterans. Also receiving benefit from this outreach activity are our church members. The Veteran's Administration staff members have been very supportive and have benefitted themselves. Members of groups like Trout Unlimited, CARE instructors from around the state and non-church members in the community have joined our efforts, wanting to participate in this outreach.

Here are some vets from the Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center working on fly tying, a new program introduced in 2009.

In addition to fishing we provide transportation to our Sunday worship. Eighty eight Veterans were provided rides from the CT VA in West Haven to join us on Sunday. We now work with five different units within the VA. They include the Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center, the Next Step Program, the Errera Center, the Brownell House, and we now have vets from the Rocky Hill and Newington VA joining us.

“You took the group out of a parochial institution and into the freedom of a fishing event!
For one of us who had never in his life, to this point, never been fishing,
to another who could not reel in his numerous catches,
to the wonderful taste of home baked cookies,
to conversations and laughter..
For all this and more I Thank You.”
Charles C Castro Major USAF Retired

Take a Vet Fishing 2011
With the arrival of warm weather also comes our "Take a Vet Fishing" program for 2011. In 2010 we were able to take 551 veterans out of the hospital for a relaxing day of fishing away from the clinical hospital environment. The vets are already talking about the next date for this year. Help is always welcomed and needed.

2011 Dates To Be Announced

Wish List for Take a Vet Fishing
The Veteran’s Outreach Mission and its’ "Take a Vet Fishing" program is heading into its fourth season. The money we raise goes to the program. We have some items that will help to make the fishing experience for the vets more enjoyable and safer. If you have wanted to help and do not have the time this might be a good opportunity for you. There are some items available from Cabela's that we need. You may order them on line or donate the funds, gift cards also are an option. The prices of the items start at $44.99, you can get one or more items. Please go to or they have a store in East Hartford. Thank you

2 10 X 10 Canopy
shade for vets

8 large folding chairs
stable chair w/attached table

12 folding chairs
stable chair w/attached table

1 62 qt wheeled cooler
soft drink cooler

Here’s a video of an ice-fishing trip to Deer Lake on February 13, 2011
Here’s a recent article about the program from the New Haven Independent.
Read about this program in the UCC Newsletter
Read about a fly-tying session from Shore Publishing

Questions? Contact:
Jeff Buggee 203-488 – 5240 Cell 203-415 – 6322 E – mail
First Congregational Church 488 - 7201