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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

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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I became familiar with this charity in the summer of 2012 when I was invited to fish at the reel American heroes tournament in Virginia. All of the people involved in the charity bent over backwards to make sure the wounded warriors heroes and veterans had the time of their lives. This organization truly strives to make those who have served feel appreciated.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am with Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Marine a second year boat volunteer for the Reel American Hero Foundation and I enjoy it more and more each year I volunteer for helping giving the American Hero that have been there to make sure we can do what we what to do day in and day out with no problems. I bless each and every one of them. To be able to help them enjoy something that they may dream about is a pleasure for me to be able to make that happen. For those of you that have not been involved with this Foundation, you should give it some consideration because it is worth your time. Just to watch the attitude and the looks on their faces when they catch a fish or being able to do something they always wanted to do. Give it a try and I am sure you will come back and help each year.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had the privilege to attend the first annual duck hunt with Reel American Heroes. They are a fantastic organization that works FOR the vets. They went above and beyond to make sure we were taken care of and had a great hunt. All the volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful! I would be honored to attend more events as well as volunteer where and when I can!
I am a combat wounded veteran and have had some trouble with doing things I used to enjoy before my injuries. This organization has helped me get back out into the outdoors and having the confidence that I can still do what I used to, even with my injuries. Thank You Reel American Heroes!

Chris140

Client Served

Rating: 5

Today Tuesday January 14, 2014 on the Belmont Bay (Potomac River) in Woodbridge, VA. Reel American Heroes Foundation invited me on their First Annual Reel American Heroes Foundation Duck Hunt and I had a blast. They were well organized and very helpful in every way. I would love to get involved with another hunt in the future. Once again Thank you SGT. Christopher Rupp.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a boater and a ground volunteer for the events sponsored by Reel American Heroes, and I have witnessed first hand the good that this organization provides. It is a well organized foundation, the events are well attended (expanding every year), and the joy they bring to wounded warriors is evident on their faces. For them this foundation builds confidence, self esteem, physical coordination, and a sense of accomplishment that will enable them to overcome hardships and challenges. The guest vets are not the only ones that benefit from this organization and its events. It also provide the volunteers with an opportunity to give back to the veterans, to express appreciation for their service and sacrifice, and develop a "give back" spirit that might expand into other volunteer activities throughout the community. Reel American Heroes Foundation certainly deserves a non-profit designation.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served as a boater in this years Reel American Heroes Foundation Tournament on the Potomac River. I have participated in multiple veterans charity fishing tournaments, and this event was by far the best. It was so good, I am planning a return trip (all the way from Jacksonville, FL) for the next tournament this summer. The organizer do an incredible job taking care of the warriors, and every penny raised and every donation made is turned right back into the foundation and the warriors themselves. Ron and his staff (which is pretty much his family) don't accept one cent in compensation from the Foundation, which is a rarity for any charity. The tournament itself is well run, well organized, and completely focused on giving the veterans a great day on the water. If you're looking for vereran's support organization to donate to, this is it.

Ted D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer boat captain for this organization since Ron first approached me at the boat ramp at Occoquan and asked, "May I talk to you about a great opportunity?". I replied, "Sir, that depends on the subject.". It was an easy answer: The chance to give something back, something as simple as my time doing something I love like fishing, was a nobrainer! The Reel American Heroes group is real, it is legitimate and worthy of your donation. I have watched it grow over three years into a wonderful cause that gives our disabled veterans a day to forget their troubles and remember a good day on the river. Hell, even a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work or on base! Hats off to Ron and his entire team. I am proud to be a part of this organization and wish I could do more. God bless our troops around the world protecting our freedoms!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a Veteran with 20 years of service I have been supporting community service organization similar to the Reel American Hero’s Foundation since my retirement in 1999. Continuing serving my brothers and sister who defend our country today is critical in rebuilding America and I am impressed with the work of the RAHF. The RAHF is a unique non-profit organization that focuses one hundred percent to providing recreational therapy to our Wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Disabled Veterans and Active Duty Servicemen and women.

Executive Director Ronald R. DeFreitas and his volunteer workforce are exceptional individuals that deserve recognition. I have participated in many wounded warrior events as a boater and volunteer. Hands down the RAHF runs a great program which is unsurpassed by none other. If you are looking to volunteer your time or provide donations you would be hard pressed to find a greater organization.

Serving with care, God Bless!
Jim Sutton
U.S. Navy Retired

1 Lure Concepts Of Vero

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a proud non veteran supporter of this great organization and all that they do. I am a fishing lure builder/crafter out of Western,P.A. who first met Ron Defreitas almost 3 years ago on Facebook through a mutual friend and we hit it off immediately.I have always supported our service men and women having had 3 uncles who had served and several very close friends so I have a very good understanding of what these folks go through both during and after service.In these troubled times not enough attention and recognition is paid to these heroes and their families but step at a time Ron DeFreitas and The Reel American Heroes Foundation is making it happen in everything they do.I donate when I can and try to help supply this organization with fishing lures that are 100% handcrafted here by us and only hope that others can help from time to time to help these folks with their mission.Have not yet been able to join in on the wonderful events they have to help keep our service men and women in the outdoors but am always invited and know that I am welcome as part of the family to join in at anytime.I can only hope that others may also volunteer and help support The Reel American Heroes and other organizations like this to pay tribute to these heroes that have made The Ultimate Sacrifice for the freedom of this great nation.Very Proud Supporter John A Laurenza Jr. Lure Concepts Fishing Lures www.lureconcepts.com

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been an honor to participate in the last events held by the Reel American Heroes Foundation, I have always enjoyed wounded warrior events. Hands down this is the best run event of them all!! Ron Defratis and his crew really know what they are doing from start to finish! I will continue to be a avid supporter of a great organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of participating in both the VA and NC events as a boater. The work put into these events by Ron DeFreitas, Douglas Phillips, and other volunteers allow these events to provide disabled veterans with a truly memorable experience.

I look forward to volunteering in all future events and encourage others I know to participate. The events which Reel American Heroes Foundation put on are made possible through generous donors. Every bit helps and it seems to me that none of the resources donated are going to waste.

Patrick39

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reel American Heroes foundation is one of the finest organization around. Ronald Defreitas is a hero for all the hard word and dedication for our wounded soldiers.
My wife and I where blessed to be volunteers at the RAHF tournament in aug 2013. It was a great learning experience for us to learn how many great people there are here for our vets and at the top of that list should be Ron Defreitas.
I am very proud to be a friend and supporter of a great group and I look forward to the new 2014 up coming events. So please come out and help support a great 100% profit free foundation RAHF

Rida E.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Reel American Heroes Foundation is unlike any other organization I have encountered. Ronald DeFreitas founded RAHF because of his love for those of us who serve the country as a way to pay us back for the sacrifices we have and continue to make. As an active duty Soldier and a Wounded Warrior, I have had the pleasure of meeting others like me and spending quality, therapeutic time on the water as a result of the hard work, dedication, and love that are all products of the RAHF family. I was able to meet a great new fishing partner and friend who is a Vietnam era verteran and BassPro Staffer at this year's event. I was also furtunate enough to experience my first tournament win because of these great people. Whether they know it or not, RAHF and Ronald DeFreitas have changed my life for the better. I cannot begin to fully express my gratitude and love for this organization.
If you want a good cause to support, would like to be affiliated with an organization that truly does good things for those who deserve it, or would like to donate money or time to a legitimate charity that actually makes a difference, then The Reel American Hearoes Foundation is the one for you.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Reel American Heroes Foundation & Founder Mr. Ronald DeFreitas are providing a great service to those Real heroes whom have sacrificed their life & limbs for our great country.
Help support a great 100% profit free foundation. Keep up the awesome work Mr.Ron &RAHF !!!!

Mid Coast M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got involved with Reel American Heroes several years ago, son after it was formed.With all the hard work put in by the all volunteer staff, led by founder Ron DeFreitas, it has become a leader in the field of helping Veterans get back into the outdoors.They do several tournaments a year hosting hundreds of Vets to enjoy time on the water.They are now starting to add duck hunts and striper trips.They are a great organization and I am very proud to be involved with them.Semper Fi.

Art E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got involved with Reel American Heroes when it first began several years ago. The organization got better with every year. We take wounded heroes bass fishing on the potomac. Don't always catch fish but that;s only a small part of what we try to do. Getting the vets out for a day away from what ever they are dealing with means a lot to them. Great Great way to give something back to our vets.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I became involved with this organization several years ago and have been impressed from the start. By providing equipment and opportunities to get our wounded veterans out on the water is the kind of therapy that cannot be measured or have a price tag placed on it. I haven't had the honor of participating in one of the annual tournaments but plan on doing so in 2014. I have been able to take my nephew out on several bass fishing trips in between deployments and on one trip we didn't catch a single fish but he said "Just getting out on the water and relaxing meant everything, not having to worry about the ongoing conflicts or that next deployment."

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with this foundation for quit a few months now and I'm proud to be one of there donors.
This foundation takes our disable veterans men and women out for a day of fresh air and a day on the water for fishing fun. They work on all donations made to them from different companies in the fishing industries.
And that is done with the tireless efforts of Mr. Ronald De Freitas and a lot of his family and friends.
Besides working his own personal job he puts tireless hours in to make sure that ever disable vet has a great time at any event that they have.
With out a foundation such as this one these veterans would be sitting in rooms looking at 4 walls and not knowing that they are still use full people and that there are people that care about them and love them unconditionally. If u have a chance and can come to an event do it u will what a great day everyone has.

Matt57

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Daughter Hope and I helped out by taking a soldier and his dog out on our bass boat for a day of friendly competitive fishing. This was a very well run organization and I would drive the 4 hours to do it again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is by far the best organization I have came across and had the opportunity to be involved with. Not only does it give veterans and wounded warriors a chance to fish a real tournament, but it lets them enjoy the freedoms they have sacrificed so much for us to enjoy. I attended the Potomac River event in 2013 and it was awesome to say the least. There was a huge turnout and gave all the volunteers a chance to show their appreciation for these servicemen and women. The relationships that were formed at the event will last a lifetime and it was truly a life changing experience. I still keep in touch with those who fished that day and we can't wait until next year. The director, Ron DeFreitas, is an awesome guy for taking so much time to organize these events and maintain this organization year round. As for the event itself, there were great gifts for all, great food, and AWESOME prizes. This organization is truly about more than fishing- it's about helping bring normalcy to those coping with entering back into civilian life or a form of therapy for those who normally would never have a chance to experience something like this. I know this event changed my life and if you are thinking of volunteering next year there is no question it will do the same for you. I can't wait for next years event. Overall an awesome organization!

Donor

Rating: 5

As a USMC Veteran, I would like to express how much I appreciate what RAHF does for my fellow military personnel in their efforts to support us. I am also proud to have my company, North Anna Bait Company help RAHF to support our Warriors in the Great Outdoors. Also as a guide for CCBASSN Lake Anna Guide Service, we are grateful to be able to provide a great experience to them as well. RAHF is a True American Foundation

F4ROUTDOORS

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reel American Heroes Foundation is a corporation located in Dale City, Virginia. Charitable donations to this organization are deductible. The Reel American Heroes Foundation benefits wounded soldiers in recreation, sports, leisure, athletics, focusing specifically on fishing, hunting clubs programs and a proud to be helping hand anytime they need it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I would like to send a shout out to all the people involved in makeing the reel american heros foundation a place where we can show there is still hope for the human race.These people work non stop and have regular jobs too ,but still find time to make the lives of our wounded heros of war feel normal and respected.Last year my family ,neighbor and i traveled from Lititz pa to help out. This was a life changing event , my 10 yr old daughter at the time helped from the shore along with my girlfriend of 8 yrs and my good friend and neighbor.I had the honor of taking out a wounded warrior from viet naum,He just so happened to be a great friend of mine too.It was wonderful to see the smiles and here the chatter of fun and respect. I have made life long friends there and thanks to ron and his family and staff for making it happen.I will make the trip again and for as long as they need me . They are trulry the best.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I cannot wait until the next event on the Potomac River. Although I found out about this non-profit by volunteering to take wounded warriors fishing, they do so much more. Ron, his family, the dedicated support staff, and all the volunteers continue to amaze me with the ideas and events they provide for our Service members. I cannot say enough about Ron and his tireless dedication and commitment to make a difference in our returning service members, disabled anglers, and veterans.