Skip to main content Skip to main content

Heroes on the Water Event

Written by Bob Bramblet

The morning air was crisp as the anglers launched their kayaks into the chilly waters of Matlacha. They had come from all over Florida for this launch. They were Military Veterans and Volunteers and they were here for Heroes on the Water.

This was the first HOW event for the new Southwest Florida Chapter and it was, by all accounts, a success. Chapter President Esteban Gutierrez was busy setting up the event site. The staff had a cooker going and was putting together “goody” bags for all the participants.

There were over 40 people at the event from as far away as Jacksonville. “Everyone comes together to help Veterans find the piece of mind that comes with being on the water and fishing” said Gutierrez. Heroes on The Water are a non-profit organization that helps injured service members with their physical and mental recovery using the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks. Every HOW event across the country brings together wounded military personnel for guided kayak fishing excursions. Founded in 2007, HOW has served more than 3,000 veterans. The service is provided to the veterans for free.

Somewhere around noon, the anglers found their way back to the launch. There was much camaraderie as everyone was talking about how the fishing went while helping each other stow their kayaks. Just before lunch, Esteban Gutierrez spoke to the crowd and thanked everyone for coming. That was followed by a check presentation from Florida Sportsman of the proceeds from last fall's Kayak Challenge, which was donated to the HOW Florida Chapters. After a group prayer, a lunch of pulled pork with all the accoutrements was served.

The Florida Sportsman Kayak Challenge ran during the months of October and November as an online kayak fishing tournament. Over 140 anglers competed for almost $7000 in prizes. After tournament expenses, the group raised more than $1200 for HOW.

Many of the Veterans caught fish, but one in particular had bragging rights. Up until now, he had never caught a fish. Ever. On this day, he was guided to a nearby line of mangroves where he landed over 10 snook. To go from first time angler to a snook ace is a pretty big deal.

There is no doubt that Heroes on the Water helps Veterans in a unique way and this event is a great example. It's also easy to get involved as a volunteer or through donations. Florida Sportsman is a proud supporter and encourages everyone to check out for more information.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now