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Reel American Heroes Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: The Reel American Heroes Foundation is a 100% volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that works with military hospitals and military bases to provide much needed recreational therapy for our nation's wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Disabled Veterans and Combat Veterans by getting them out on the water to fish.

Results: Over 800 wounded heroes have participated in our programs and benefitted from the recreational therapy that we provide.

Target demographics: wounded, disables and combat Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Disabled Veterans

Direct beneficiaries per year: 800 wounded heroes.via team bass fishing events

Geographic areas served: Virginia

Programs: Team bass fishing events.

Community Stories

259 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

JEstep0284

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Never have I been a part of a group so generous and dedicated to give back as much as possible to our soldiers. I can say with 100% confidence that I believe ever penny goes to the soldier. I see how hard the people at Reel American Heroes works and it inspires me to give what I can. Even more, I see the smiles on the faces of the soldiers after a day on the water. Sometimes with huge fish in their hands, sometimes not. Regardless, they were given an experience they will never forget and I don't think anyone else but Reel American Heroes could do that.

Donor

Rating: 5

My company is happy to donate to Reel American Heroes as I know that upwards of 95% of my donation is used to benefit our servicemen. It is nice to donate to an organization that is not spending its money on administrative and overhead expenses. I am happy to be able to contribute for the benefit of these servicemen that give so much for our country.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Many of us take our freedoms for granted. Our military men and women volunteer to make the ultimate sacrifices up to and including giving their lives to protect those freedoms we all enjoy. Giving back to those soldiers who have suffered through a loss of any kind is a privilege and honor.

The Reel American Heroes Foundation hosts a wonderful event that brings local and national bass fishing personalities to the Potomac River to offer a day in the outdoors for our wounded soldiers. It offers a way for these men and women that have sacrificed so much an opportunity to step away from the hospitals and rehab facilities to enjoy the great outdoors. The Reel American Heroes Foundation makes this possible through their tireless dedicated efforts to make this one of the best events of it's kind.

Richard78

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an unselfish organization that cares for the well being of our American vetrans.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization that help those who have helped us all.

MaryAnn J.

Donor

Rating: 5

Smiles from our veterans are priceless. This organization has successfully brought many vets together with a host of professionals and volunteers. My number one charity to give something back to the soldiers of America. No matter how many limbs they have left on thier body, they will smile and get a heartfelt thank you from this organization. God bless Reel American Heros Foundation for the true meaning of giving back.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

This is one organization I put my money on. There is nothing like the escape of outdoor fishing for a veteran of war to feel free. Loss of limbs is a casualty that needs to be overcome with ability to persue a fresh start or realize an old passion is still possible. This nonprofit goes the extra mile to ensure our disabled and enabled vets get out there and have an experience of commradare with like minded people who care and that our vets have a fulfilling life. Fish on!

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization does a fantastic job at giving back to those who have given so much to help this nation! It's amazing how much they do with tremendous devotion and dedication. Check it out and you will be greatly impressed!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became associated with RAHF a couple years ago. I volunteered to take a wounded vet out on a fishing trip.I had no idea what to expect. This organization is really an asset to wounded vets. The vet I took fishing was in bad shape mentaly. He has ptsd bad. After our trip he said the recreational therapy the trip provided was a life saver for him. him and I have been on many trips since and have built a life long relationship. RAHF is a first class org. They really care about helping these vets.They supplyed the vet with fishing tackle and other things at no cost. I really think RAHF changes lives

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm a proud supporter of RAHF and their work with our veterans!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Even though I live in Arkansas Ron Defrietas does a outstanding job. I do wish I lived closer so I could be more active in this great organization. Keep up the great work Ron I hope someday I can be active in this group.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a blind veteran, I truely believe and can relate to the RAHF.

D_Loomis

Volunteer

Rating: 5

RAHF and Ron DeFrietas are 100% dedicated to those who serve. They're a top-notch organization, and as a Desert Storm Veteran myself, I could not be more proud to be associated with the Reel American Heroes Foundation.

Michael238

Donor

Rating: 5

I am writing to tell you of how impressive this organization is. Mr. DeFrietas and the rest of the organizational staff is top notch and 100% dedicated to paying back to those who served our country with a day dedicated to the soldiers who served our country.

Bass Craft Crankbaits along with Baitwerks Custom Lure Painting was a sponsor last year and we are on our second year now and will continue to support this cause for many years to come.

Bass Craft Crankbaits, LLC and Baitwerks donated custom crankbaits designed for those with a theme based on the cause. Last year we provided a set of limited edition signed crankbaits painted as the US flag which were very well received. We felt honored to have been able to provide them to the soldiers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a active duty Marine Veteran myself, I was glad to offer my assistance to help with taking one of our amazing disabled veterans fishing. I know that these are the kind of things that really helps lift morale for all troops that have been wounded. It was great to take them out and connect and to talk shop with them on the water while catching some bass and relaxing the day away. Ron's Charity is top notch and he, and the staff are all about making the Wounded Warriors feel like they are on top pf the world. This is a great charity and I hope I can do this again one day with Ron.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is one of the most well run Charities I have been associated with. From the time you get to the water until you weigh in fish all you see is a professionally run event. You would have to search far and wide in my honest opinion to top this event.

Jerry F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last year was the first year I volunteered for this organization and I'm pleased to say that it was a wonderful experience and very well organized. This is one worthy of donation. I've been involved in other events but this one topped them all. Needless to say I'll be attending more as a boat toting volunteer for these guys for years to come.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ron and his staff are awesome. What they do for our vets are none less than a God send. Their dedication to our troops shows the true American spirit.

C.w. R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ron and his staff at Reel American Heroes Foundation do a terrific job. The yearly event at Hope Springs Marina has become a staple in my annual calendar and I look forward to volunteering for this event every year. The benefit to America's heroes is tremendous. Every year you see such great joy as the guys and girls are able to get out on the water for a day of fishing with some great anglers.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, Patrick, is a 100% disabled Iraq veteran who, after four years in military hospitals and rehab programs, was declared “incapable of independent living”. Viewing the Army’s judgment as a challenge, my son now lives on his own, has a full time job, drives a car, and has an active, largely independent life despite the loss of an arm and the after-effects of a traumatic brain injury. Still, some activities that he once enjoyed remained frustratingly out of reach despite his best efforts. Fishing was on the “impossible” list because you just can’t cast and retrieve with only one arm. Now, however, due to the generosity and hard work of the Reel American Heroes Foundation, Patrick is once again looking forward to fishing season.

Before Pat deployed to Iraq, fishing was one of the things that we most enjoyed doing together, so when he was finally discharged after four years in military hospitals and clinics we immediately began trying to figure out ways to go fishing again. We tried all sorts of methods and products for more than a year, but they were all either impractical or left him dependent on me at critical moments. Then, a friend told me about the Reel American Heroes Foundation. We called the Foundation, hoping for little more than ideas, maybe a lead to a supplier. A mere three weeks later, Ron DeFreitas and his dynamic team showed up on our doorstep with a solution in hand. They had found a guy working out of his garage in Ohio who had developed a spinning reel powered by a tiny electric motor and had convinced him to donate a working prototype to Pat. Ron also brought along a brand new spinning rod and a tackle box full of all the right lures and other essentials.

Ron then invited us to the Foundation’s upcoming bass tournament on the Potomac River. I honestly expected Pat to decline since he does not always do well in crowded, noisy settings and often finds all-day events too taxing. But, he decided it was his duty to go given the Foundation’s generosity. In truth, we thought there might be a couple of dozen boats driven by some well-meaning weekend fishermen like me, that Pat would fish for an hour or two, and then we would be free to leave. To us, that seemed reasonable to expect from volunteers who also hold down full time jobs in the local school system and similar places. As it turns out, we were way off.

When we arrived at the marina, 60+ top-of-the-line bass boats were maneuvering for a spot in the launch queue, most driven by top bass pros and guides from the Mid Atlantic region. The very gracious Timmy Horton, one of America’s top bass pros, was there with his TV crew to greet Patrick. Patrick went fishing and, while he didn’t catch much, he did master the electric reel and he had a ball. We then enjoyed a huge BBQ luncheon and watched in awe at the quality of the prizes awarded – the very best in sporting equipment and electronics that Ron and company had persuaded local businesses and national manufacturers to donate. Pat stayed all day and enjoyed every minute – probably his first dawn to dark day since he left Iraq.

In my family's experience, “wounded warrior” events are often one-time things, mostly big fund-raising dinners full of celebrities, where the soldiers sit in the back of the room and are introduced before the big speech. Not so with the Reel American Heroes Foundation. Ron and his team were in touch constantly before the tournament making sure Pat had what he needed and have followed up repeatedly to perfect the Pat's equipment so he can fish with the independence he enjoyed before he was injured. One of the saddest effects of combat is that our men and women often blame themselves for the horrors they experienced on our behalf. Some even blame themselves for their own wounds. Helping them lift the burden of this guilt and depression takes time and requires the personal warmth, empathy, and sustained support that is the Foundation’s SOP.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first met Ron Defraites last year (2012) through face book. I was finally able to meet him in person at the 2013 Richmond Fishing Expo. What Ron has done and is doing for our Service men and women is outstanding! I am very proud to say that being a supporter and sponsor of the Reel American Heroes Foundation has changed my life! To see the smiles on the faces on the brave men and women that protect us is priceless!!!!!!

Last year I was unable to attend the bass tournament on the Potomac River because of back surgery. My best friend and associate guide, Brian Oxendine, was there to show our support. As a full time Lake Anna fishing guide. We both donated a guide trip to be given away to two of our HEROES!

The fishing trips will be done in the spring of 2014 and will be videoed for everyone to enjoy, If you have ever thought about becoming a volunteer or a sponsor of an organization, please give the REEL AMERICAN HEROES FOUNDATION a look. You will not be disappointed in what they do and you will have memories to last a lifetime!!!!!!!!!

Chris Craft
CCBASSN LAKE ANNA GUIDE SERVICE