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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

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This company does a lot for veterans and deserve the recognition. They help to make sure vets are still able to get on the Water. As a vet and knowing that fishing can relieve tension and stress, I feel they are doing a great thing. Fishing to me is a way of relaxing and this is what they try to do.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Reel American Heroes Foundation is a organization that supports our American Heroes, our Veterans. Thank you for your service Reel American Heroes and making a difference for our Real American Heroes!

Erin H.
Holly Springs, NC

1 Jose15

Client Served

Rating: 5

Reel American Heroes Foundation provides the opportunity for disabled veterans like myself to enjoy the great outdoors. For the past 6 years Ron and his family have done a tremendous service to the veterans who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to go out fishing. This organization is tops in my book and I will continue to support their mission whenever I can. Can't wait to go out fishing with such a great group of guys and gals in July 2017!! Please support the Reel American Heroes Foundations. Thank you. MSG (U.S. Army) Ret.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a retired disabled veteran, My wife and I have participated in Reel American Heroes events for 4 years now. People ask my why I love fishing so much and I tell them, its the only time when I just can forget all the pain and be at ease; focusing on catching the next big bass, on a lake, with the sun shining on my face. The folks at Reel American Heroes makes this happen year after year here in NC and in VA. They run a great program and you can truly see the difference that it makes to veterans lives, like myself. Thank you Reel American Heroes, you are my hero, because you let me enjoy what I love to do and forget about the pain even it's for just one day. - MSG(Ret) Jose Merza, US Army

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great cause and great people. Thanks for all you do.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This was my first time at this event. I was very impressed with how organized and coordinated it was. It is such a wonderful and patriotic thing they do for our Veterans. I look foward to going again next year.

1 Richard142

Donor

Rating: 5

Team rahf supports everything i love best in the business!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a four year volunteer to this amazing organization I must say this is one top notch foundation. The men and women of RAHF go above and beyond for veterans. Grade A foundation, we need a six star rating for them.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An awesome organization doing great things for veterans. They truly provide recreational therapy in a first class setting.

1 Mark137

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered the last few years as a boat captain for Reel American Heroes. Although it sounds that as a volunteer I am giving up personal time to do this, in reality it is "The Heroes" that have given me so much more than I could ever do for them. It is an enriching experience and each "Hero" has taught me something. I am looking forward to participating again next year.
Mark

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the great organization for the last few years as a boater. As a boater I have the honor to take a veteran out for a day of fishing. I know they enjoy them self, but I believe they give me the greater gift. This is a great group!

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1

Donor

Rating: 5

RAHF is a great organization that truly helps veterans not just advertising them to get noticed but actually helping us veterans, an organization that goes above an beyond to recognize an help veterans should be recognized and applauded. Keep up the good work guys.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Where do I even start, my first year (2015) with the Reel American Heroes Foundation was amazing. I was given the opportunity to fish as a Veteran. I could not have been any happier with the experience, I was greeted by some of the nicest people that I have ever met! They made sure that all Veterans were extremely well taken care of and if we needed anything at all we didn’t even have to ask. Mr. Ronald was definitely leading from the front by helping boaters get to the ramp and also helping non boaters find parking. All of this being done at 0400 in the DARK. I can’t express the feeling that I got seeing over 70+ HEROS taking off in boats knowing that some of them had never stepped foot in a bass boat let alone some professional bass boats. I was lucky enough to be paired with another veteran who was volunteering as a boater. He quickly put me on fish and was able to help me accomplish my first ever tournament win. Shortly after returning from fishing I was able to watch other veterans climb out of boats with the biggest smiles on their faces and that would have never happened without such a great foundation and great people making it happen.
My second year with RAHF I decided to also help give back as a volunteer boater. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. This foundation definitely has a way of making you feel wanted and needed. I quickly connected with my HERO and we helped ourselves to the free breakfast provided by the RAHF. Shortly after I made sure to find Mr. Ronald thanking him again for another great opportunity. Shortly after I showed my hero where to pick up his brand new rod and reel combo and completely stocked tackle box. All of which was provided by the RAHF with help from donations and sponsors. After a great day of fishing with my veteran we returned to watch the awards and raffle prizes be given out. You could really tell that the veterans had an amazing time. I will be attending again next year for sure!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It's amazing the work that is done to put the smile on the face of vets by rahf. I personally will always donate and contribute where I can to rahf. Very friendly, easy to deal with, and very outgoing

1 Ted M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has provided a relief for our wounded warriors. Any organization such as this deserves our praise. Thank you for doing what you do!

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization has provided many activities for our American Wounded Warriors. Ron has a fine organization to honor those warriors. Awesome organization!

1 Ted_13

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a retired Air Force NCO who is also a disabled vet I first met Ron while working at the Hampton Va. Bass Pro Shops. He and the Reel American Heros Foundation have proven over the years to be a top notch organization helping disabled vets to understand and enjoy the world of bass fishing and just spending time enjoying all the great outdoors has to offer. The foundation has always been there to support vets any way possible. Keep up the great work.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband was a Sgt in the Marine Corps. He needed something to get involved in. Something he could share with his two sons. That's when a friend introduced him to this foundation. Since then, they have been nothing but supportive and active in our military life. I cannot say thank you enough for all that you have done and continue to do.

1 Kyle40

Donor

Rating: 5

Great organization for a great cause! On behalf of all of the veterans, I want to thank RAHF for what they do for us!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've participated in the annual RAHF tournament the past 2 years and I can honestly say it is the fishing event I look forward to the most every year. I've got so much respect for these veterans we are privileged to take fishing and very thankful this organization exists and I'm able to be a part of it!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Year round dedication makes the RAHF a winner for our most valuable American heroes. This event is the best I've seen. It's truly a labor of love for the organizers and volunteers who put the soldiers first! Thanks for a great job! You are all PATRIOTS!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great organization and great ppl. Willing to go above and beyond to give back and help our veterans.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Reel American Heroes Foundation about three years ago and actively participated as a boater for two years. I have to tell you it is a priveledge, honor and blessing to be part of this organizations events. As a active duty military member, this organization shows The true meaning of giving back to Heroes in a way that gets Soldiers back in tune with the outdoors. The experiences that I have had and the friendships I have made through this organization are life changing and lasting. I appreciate everything they are doing, and look forward to supporting their cause in the future.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

These guys are changing lives!!! One of the best nonprofits I have ever been around!!!

1 timberdog12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the RAHF at every level. No other organization gives 100% back to wounded veterans, and what better way to give back than to share the great outdoors? Also, through our Facebook Page, Nitro Bass Boats we have raise many donations to help continue Ronald DeFreitas' great work....something our 5,000 members are very proud of.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been my HONOR to participate in the RAHF and have enjoyed knowing our most important citizens, those who have served and sacrificed for this great nation, are being recognized. What could possibly be more important? From the director down the staff is exemplary, the results are obvious when you see the smiles and hear the appreciation in our warrior's voices. Awesome organization, MORE than worthy of the donations it receives!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had some truly great experiences with this foundation, last years event on the Potomac was one that I had hoped to take a warrior out fishing for the day but as luck would have it, my boat didn't agree, I had to opt out of the chance but was offered a place to aid with their needs for the day, I am glad I did because I got to see what they do behind the scenes and what it took to put together an event like this, I have been a part of organizations that do things for our men and women and not one of them are more dedicated, more geared toward a positive result than this foundation, I have not seen anyone work as hard as they do, everything is thought out and well planned by a group of people that have nothing but the warriors as their main focal point, I have seen the positive effect that they have first hand and decided to join this foundation myself.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This group does a great job of getting things done. They get the veterans out on the water and really make a difference. Love working with all the other volunteers. Their staff is awesome. I wish more non profits would take a look and how this group does things.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

Great organization that does alot for those who gave more

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This foundation does amazing work for wounded Vets! Definitely a worth while cause!!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The dedication and support of this organization to our country's veterans is beyond incredible. The organization is professionally run, as are all the tournaments. Every detail is taken care of and well coordinated. The staff is amazing! And most importantly, the gratitude felt by the veterans is evident at every event, and pretty much says it all!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What these selfless volunteers do to help wounded service men is unheralded. They give these fine service men and ladies a chance to forget about they daily issues and escape for for a bit and leave with a life time of memories.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a veteran and have done events with RAHF and I am honored to be part of this great organization. The personnel are very professional and a awesome staff. Looking forward to many events to come.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a boat captain for some of their Wounded Vet fishing events. Well run, professional and fully focused on the Veterans.

3 Ashleigh S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been able to apart of this awesome event for the last 2 years and I can't wait for next year! This organization always goes above and beyond to do all they can for the people who support and protect us daily! By far an amazing organization!

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the joy of being part of the volunteer team for this foundation. This foundation goes above the call of duty when it comes to our heroes. The family who started this foundation has made it their mission to give back and provide all they can to the heroes of this foundation. This foundation is like no other and I look forward to many more events with Reel American Heroes Foundation.

2 Randy40

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great bunch of people. Top notch events for our injured military heros.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great foundation. Done for the right reasons. By the right people

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Such a great organization. Our vets deserve so much more then this but every little bit helps. I enjoy our clubs servicemens tournament every year,never miss helping out.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great people doing a awesome thing taking Veterans fishing to show a small amount of gratitude for all that they have sacrificed!

2 Chris144

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to this non profit when stationed in fort myer, va at the river on ft belvoir in summer of 2010. Though I wasn't able to participate that year due hearing about it at the beach. Ron Defreitas was there and from that point said he would take me out on his boat and get me signed up for the following year.

The ability to get out on the water and fish with either a friend or someone new allows that person to leave whatever problems or demons they have in the shore and relax and have fun at the same time.

Many veterans and wounded warriors have been helped and benefited from this foundation.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I remove the first time I met Ronald Defreitas back in the early we of 2011 when he was running one the reel American hero tournaments out of Fort Belvoir, va. That was the first time I had heard of the tournament, and though I wasn't able to take part in the tournament the next thing he asked me was if I would like to fishing with him. A week later we were in his boat fishing. The time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears Ron and his team have put into this is nothing short of amazing and done without a shred of personal gain. I have been able to see on more than one occasion the lives he has impacted through RAHF and it is astounding to see what he has done. Where ever I go and whenever I get the chance to tell other fishermen/women about this I do to spread the good news of what he has done and is doing. I know I found a life long friend in Ron and I am beyond grateful to be able to call him such.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a great organization who is doing amazing things for our vets

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

RAHF was by far the best fishing tournament on the Potomac River this
season, did my heart good to give back to the Vets who served our country.
I look forward to next year.
Thanks
James Donegan

Laura265

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Laura Moore, I am the owner of KLM Worms and it was great to be able to donate my baits to this great cause!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The RAHF is a great group...anything for our vets and active armed forces is a needed function.....Great job RAHF!!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

RAHF is a great organization bringing peace and recognition to our veterans. To see the impact these interactions bring is truly amazing. The donations and time provided by the supporters and corporate donors is the building block that creates friendships and support to our heroes for years to come.

1 Paul177

Client Served

Rating: 5

As an active duty Soldier, with 14 yrs in, I must say that this organization is amazing and participating in the reel American Hero tourny was one of the most humbling experience I have had as a soldier!! Hooooooah

1 Jason112

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ron and company are very professional, very organized and focus on bringing everyone together for the common good. I am always proud to be a part of this organization and look forward to helping any way that I can to make it a continued success.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great group of people, the organization is very professional I had a wonderful day on the water.

1 Scott129

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Can't say enough about RAHF, they do so much to help our vets

1

Donor

Rating: 5

There is no better feeling than to know you have helped put a smile on a Veterans face .The giving of all the volunters is heart warming.My nephew volunteers .He is always so proud of what he does.He spends his weeks dsl fishing with the Veterans.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is a class act. I enjoyed my day out on the water bass fishing. Recieved a free lews fishing rod and a tackle box full of gear. What they are doing for veterans is outstanding.

2 Alana5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I just can't say enough about this organization and the service they provide to veterans. My son who is a combat injured marine unexpectedly got to come home for Christmas. I contacted RAHF and asked if there was anything they had available for my son and his dad to do while he was home that would make things a little better. I was very surprised that I immediately received a telephone call and was given information that a fishing trip would be scheduled for them within a week, and it was. Chad Cox came and took my son and husband out on his boat and provided them with some RAHF gear. They had an awesome day on the lake and just couldn't say enough about Chad Cox and RAHF! After the year that our family has had dealing with PTSD, TBI, Brain Surgery and Inpatient Hospital stays - I cannot express what this fishing trip meant to our entire family!

2 Bulldawg3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved with RAHF several years ago when I met Ron DeFreitas the founder through an vent at Bass Pro Shops. Ron , his family, and volunteers dedicate countless hours to a combination of raising money and taking our Retired and Active Duty military men and women out for recreational therapy ! Whether it is a fishing tournament on the Potomac for 70+ or a trip taking 1 disabled Veteran out to fish on Lake Anna, or 30 out on a Striped Bass charter out of Rudee Inlet , these volunteers rise to any occasion, need or request to make a difference in their lives. Reel American Heroes are responsible for developing a one armed fishing device to allow amputee's to enjoy fishing even Hugh they lost an arm in service to their country. From Northern Virginia to Alabama and back again this group does something I have never seen any other group do. I have witnessed the change in many of our Servicemen and women as hey interact throughout he day with the people that Ron and his team pull together to exceed anyone's expectations ! I am proud to assist in what ever ways I can to help publicize and participate with the Reel American Heroes Foundation. Check them out and get involved! It is a 100% volunteer organization, no payroll at any level.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

An amazing Foundation, it is a humbling experience to be in the presence of our wounded heroes and the wonderful people who make these fishing tournaments possible.
Simon Currey USN (ret)

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is absolutely incredible. My husband has been out on the water two times with these guys and both times have been an experience of a lifetime. The two fisherman that my husband has had the honor to spend the day with have taught him things about fishing he has always dreamed about knowing! He has participated in one tournament and one personal fishing trip. I can't get over the excitement and stories he brings home with him, not to mention all the fishing gear! All in all, these guys are amazing for what they do for our wounded warriors! Thanks RAHF!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

A wonderful organization with a mission to embrace our wounded warriors by taking them out fishing... One of the best therapeutic activities a person can do for the soul-- out in nature, with friends & family.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was wounded in 2006 and since then have struggled with physical pain every day of my life. That pain coupled with continuous mental stress related to life after the military has made things very challenging for me. While I try to not show it has effected me in front of my family, it is a battle I fight every day that has taken its toll. This is where Ronald DeFreitas and the Reel American Heroes Foundation comes in. I have always enjoyed fishing (since I was 3) but never did I realize why until after my injuries. When I am on the water, I don't think about anything but the fish. "How will I get them to bite? What bait or technique should I use? How deep are they?" Other times, I don't think of anything more than the beauty of nature around me and the peaceful silence of it all. While the physical pain is still present and the problems that have caused my mental/emotional issues haven't gone away, I am not focussed on anything other than the task at hand.

I first found out about the Reel American Heroes Foundation and their tournaments last year. I started looking up information about them and seeing all of the positive comments the Wounded Warriors before me had made. I emailed them and Executive Director & Founder Ronald DeFreitas immediately got back to me saying they would love for me to participate. Well, I have to say that aside from meeting/marrying my wife and the birth of my children, the Reel American Heroes Foundation tournament was one of the single most awesome days of my life. I was paired up with a local pro who showed me techniques I hadn't previously known. I met a ton of awesome people who were there for one or two reasons: either they were like me and needed a relaxing, therapeutic day on the water or they were there to help people like me. WHAT AN AWESOME FEELING!
I was able to meet so many great folks and make friendships that still exist to this day because of our common love for fishing and injuries. I was able to meet some of the BASS Elite Pros that have been my idols for year. I was able to gain sponsorship for what I love to do. I was able to learn that I can help others in the same or way worse condition as me and as a result started volunteering as a fishing guide for Wounded Warior kayak fishing trips. Most importantly, I was able to realize that there are other ways to deal with the pain and stress that do far more for the mind and soul than any medication ever could. I have now been to two events and plan on continuing to attend all future ones. Thank you RAHF and Ronald for helping me and my family, it means the world.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful foundation that works very hard to provide great fishing events for veterans. I know my husband (a disabled vet) truly enjoyed their last tournament and I know it was a good day for him. These events are at no cost to the veterans who participate. God bless Reel American Heroes so they can continue to give our heroes good days.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was my second year to fish with a reel american hero. Jeff caught a nice fish and a few small ones. I was proud to be involved and help pay back a vet for all his sacrifice. Its the least I can do. The turny keeps growing and with the help of Ron and Tim Horton I know it will. More pros showed up this year. Thank you all for allowng me to particpate. I look forward to helping again in 2015.

BiLL Warren

1 Shawnmock90

Client Served

Rating: 5

I fished the Reel American Heroes fishing tournament this year. I participated as a warrior. All I can say is "wow". The amount of time and effort that was put into this event was definitely noticeable. I was amazed in how many volunteers showed up and how much everyone did for the wounded warriors. It was a humbling experience. This organization far exceeds any others in this line in my opinion.

1 Troy4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a real American heroes fishing tournament it was one of the best days of my life. I got to hang out with professional fishers and combat veterans like myself it made things a lot easier during stressf times.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Two years ago I went to my first event. The organization really took care of the warriors ensuring we all had a good time and it got me back into bass fishing. Not just for fun, but also competing I other tournaments. This foundation has help not just myself but other warrior not just for that day but for years to come

1 Ashante J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the last couple of years, I've had the pleasure of singing the National Anthem for the Reel American Heroes Foundation and being a part of this wonderful organization! They go above and beyond to make sure that the wounded warriors and veterans are honored! I can't wait for next year!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was severely wounded in combat in Iraq in 2005 literally nearly losing my life and one of my limbs there. I have recovered to the degree that I have successfully completed 2 combat tours in Afghanistan and run a marathon since that event. One of the organizations that contributed to my recovery was Reel American Heroes Foundation through their bass fishing tournament.

The fun and camaraderie are a real morale boost for wounded service members who are in a hospital setting or have been discharged and may be isolated. This organization helps people on many levels. Immense and positive impact on my life and the life of people that I know.

I have been participating in Reel American Heroes Tournaments since they began their effort. They do a great job of reconnecting friends whether they were friends from their military unit or from the hospitals after they were wounded. They also connect wounded service members to new friends through the mechanism of their tournaments and how they are structured, pairing the wounded warrior with a volunteer boat captain. The wounded warriors can make connections with both other wounded warriors and people outside their usual range of acquaintances. They can expand their personal networks. This can help with employment, connection to any number and type of opportunities.

1 Matt U.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Outstanding organization! They really went the extra mile for me during the 2014 Reel American Hero's Fishing tournament. Thanks to their effort not only was I able to spend the day fishing, but i was also able to reconnect with a former team member who i haven't seen since 2005. Thanks guys for everything that you do!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

An organization that really cares about wounded warriors.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

No tournament could be any better. It is the best thing that anyone could give to the wounded warriors.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This by far the best thing we can do for our men and woman that have served in the armed forces. They went to war and came back wounded. The Reel America Heroes have taken the lead here. To show them we do care. With all of the problems with the VA. The RAH has stepped up to the plate to show that we the people do care.