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War Heroes on the Water Welcomes Vets on Oct. 1

War Heroes on the Water will host 100 veterans on 37 donated yachts for two full days of sport fishing near Catalina.

NEWPORT BEACH一 War Heroes on the Water will host their annual charity fishing tournament benefitting wounded war veterans and the non-profit Freedom Alliance the first weekend of October.

The annual event is in its fourth year and has reached a new milestone by supporting 100 veterans from around the country to attend the event and will include an all-female boat for the first time.

The grass-roots tournament got its start in 2018 when Founder Anthony Hsieh decided to create the event based on his experience fishing with veterans in Cabo San Lucas. The trip made a lasting impression on Hsieh from the admirable attitude of the veterans to the healing effect being out on the water had for them.

“He knows how wonderful this country is he knows how great it is and he knows why it is,” said Rod Halperin, an organizer for War Heroes on the Water. “He appreciates these brave young men and women that put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms…He said you know what I want to host these guys… he saw that it made a difference to these guys.”

In 2018 the organization hosted the first tournament off of Catalina with 12 boats and 27 vets out on the water and the event has continued to flourish since.

The event starts with a small reception on Friday night as the veterans, found through Freedom Alliance, arrive for the event. They are given the opportunity to get to know one another and bond a bit before being out on the water.

Saturday the heroes receive a warm welcome from guests at a welcoming party in Newport Beach at Hsieh’s home before they board their assigned yacht and head out on the water for the sportfishing tournament that starts directly at 12 a.m. on Sunday.

“When we say War Heroes on the Water, we don’t joke around about the on the water part and that is still the case,” said Halperin.

Vets will stay aboard the yachts from Saturday afternoon until a closing ceremony in front of Avalon, which includes a fly-over of World War Two planes and a small celebration on the Avalon’s pier where anglers can weigh in their catches and enjoy a night in Avalon.

Tuesday evening will conclude the event with an awards ceremony at the Newport Country Club, where anglers will receive awards based on categories like the type of catch and weight.

Halperin said that the event allows veterans to step away from the day-to-day struggles and challenges to enjoy the time out on the water bonding with the new and old friends and shows them that they are supported and appreciated.

“It has always been a very poignant moment particularly this year with the situation that is going on with the military vets that have served in Afghanistan they are having a tough time so this is really good for that,” said Halperin.

War Heroes on the Water and Freedom Alliance team up each year to provide this event free of charge to veterans.

Freedom Alliance provides the hard funds to run the event but War Heroes on the Water tries to get the majority of things donated or at a lower cost, from items for a silent auction that raises money for Freedom Alliance to the yachts that are lent out for the veterans to use.

“They pay out anything we need, the hard cost to operate this event the airline tickets we have you know hotel rooms to stay for the vets we do some catering things like that but we do our best to get everything donated or at cost or reduced,” said Halperin. “…Everybody is kind enough to provide advertising and other publications like that and if everyone just kind of pitches in to lower the cost so that every four dollars we bring in goes directly to Freedom Alliance and to support their services.”

Aside from the team-up event with War Heroes on the Water, Freedom Alliance is a non-profit support group that provides services to veterans in need, whether it is financial support when they are struggling or outdoor events like the tournament.

Part of this event is raising money for Freedom Alliance and the veterans they support, the goal this year was to raise $1 million and not only has the goal been reached but War Heroes on the Water plans to surpass it.

“We are going to host 100 vets,” said Halperin. “We know there are 1,000s that could use the support that is why we are trying to raise so much money for Freedom Alliance so they can reach out beyond those 100.”

Events like this rely on community support and War Heroes on the Water is encouraging community members to come out and support the veterans during the Oct. 2 boat parade on Linda Isle in Newport Beach.

Halperin encourages community members to bring their American flags and come on their dinghies, boats, or just stand on the pier to wave the veterans off.

For more information on War Heroes on the Water see

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