Oak Island to welcome more than 80 injured Marines for a day of fishing, socializing

About 80 injured Marines are expected at Oak Island’s Ocean Crest Pier next Wednesday for a day of fishing, fellowship and fun. Organizers need volunteers to help stage the event, and the public is encouraged to stop by and support the soldiers.

The Marines are part of the eighth annual Marine Corps Trials, an adaptive sports event for wounded, ill or injured service members. Operation North State and the USO of North Carolina are assisting with the pier event and another day trip in the Wilmington area.

The Marine Corps Trials promotes recovery and rehabilitation through adaptive sports and develops camaraderie among recovering service members and veterans. It is a chance for recovering service members to demonstrate their achievements and serves as the primary venue to select Marine Corps participants for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Warrior Games.

Participants will have the opportunity to compete in archery, cycling, field, rowing, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and wheelchair basketball. The Warrior Games will also feature a wheelchair rugby exhibition and a military transition-related event.

The atmosphere will be a bit more laid-back at Ocean Crest Pier, located at 1409 East Beach Drive.

“We’re going to let them fish and have a good time,” said Steve Sanders, pier manager. “I’m trying to get volunteers to come out, bring their rods and fish with them.”

Ocean Crest Pier is providing bait shrimp, hooks and bottom rigs for those who need them. Sanders said the biggest need is for folks who can loan rods and reels to the soldiers and help show some of them proper angling techniques.

“If folks will come and spend the day with them, they will get a blessing out of it,” Sanders said. “When you leave, it will be a ‘feel good’ day.”

The USO is providing lunch and snacks, Sanders said. Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department and the local American Legion post are also assisting.

The fishing event will be from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sanders said the pier is now open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and anglers have been landing a few whiting lately.

Those interested in volunteering may call Sanders at Ocean Crest Pier at 910-278-6674 or e-mail Terry Snyder of Operation North State at mailbox@operationnorthstate.com. More information is available from Sanders and at www.operationnorthstate.com

Operation North State’s annual veterans fishing event for Oak Island this year is scheduled Friday, October 5.