Wounded in Battle, Healed by the Sea

Ten veterans and their families are participating in the sixth annual American Heroes Saltwater Challenge, hosted by Bob and Sarah Nixon. The veterans spend their mornings at sea, afternoons golfing and surfcasting. The challenge is full of gestures both large and small from the Vineyard community.

Saltwater Heroes Challenge Helps Veterans Find Peace on the Water

The sun had just climbed above Squibnocket ridge when Lieut. Nathan Rimpf and Senior Airman Emanuel Thompson spotted their first catch of the day.

“Birds,” Mr. Rimpf and Mr. Thompson said simultaneously with the quiet confidence of pros. With a slight nod of the head, the two surmised that a large school of fish weren’t too far away.

Wounded Soldiers Get Heroes' Welcome for Start of Saltwater Challenge

The soldiers and their families will compete in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby this week.

Saltwater Heroes Documentary

Last fall you published a letter from me thanking our Island community for their support of the American Heroes Fishing Challenge. Now in its fifth year and organized by the Nixon family and Beach Plum Inn, the heroes challenge is a tournament within the Annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.

National Geographic Documentary Celebrates Heroes of Front Lines and Derby

Last fall a group of nine soldiers arrived in Menemsha to compete in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.

Vineyarders Embrace, Fish Bite, In Honor of Wounded Warriors

Sunday afternoon was the first time Colton Wiley of Keofauqua, Iowa had ever seen the ocean. Three months ago he was shot in the legs in Afghanistan, leaving the 19 year old wheelchair bound. Now, on a beautiful September evening on Menemsha Beach, he was watching his first sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. “It’s beautiful and completely eye opening,” he said later that night during dinner at the Beach Plum Inn. Mr. Wiley was one of 10 wounded and recovering soldiers who visited the Island this week for the fourth annual American Heroes Saltwater Challenge.

Fishing Fever Is Contagious At Derby Time

‘Tis derby season. In just two days the Vineyard community will undergo a large transformation as the 67th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, the Island’s annual Olympics for fisherman, begins.

Derby to Welcome Disabled Veterans For Fishing Blitz

More fishermen are coming: the Vineyard community, sportsmen and local businesses are pooling their resources to greet the Monday arrival of five men and two women who were recently seriously injured during military service. The veterans are coming to fish the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, now entering its second week.

What better opportunity to bring out the best of the Vineyard than to share a local passion with those who have served their country?

Profiles of Courage

Profiles of Courage

They come looking for adventure, excitement, travel, challenge — the reasons that bring some fishermen to the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby are the same reasons some soldiers give for joining the military. But for those men and women who have been at the adrenaline-drenched war front, it is a long and welcome way to the quiet waters of Martha’s Vineyard, where the battle is with the fish.

Wounded Veteran Reels in Heroic Fish in Special Derby Event

“There’s my hero,” said Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association president Janet Messineo as Emanuel Thompson walked into the Beach Plum Inn on Thursday morning. It had been a day since Mr. Thompson, an Air Force veteran from Virginia, had caught his derby-leading 34.72-pound striper on Capt. Buddy Vanderhoop’s charter boat Tomahawk out of Menemsha, but he was still beaming.

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