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Get a limited-edition St. Croix Rod & Support Wounded Warriors in Action

by St. Croix Rods 9 Nov 19:15 UTC

Wounded Warriors in Action Treats Purple Heart Recipients to World-Class Outdoor Experiences

WWIA volunteer, Andy Hendrickson, uses his own military experiences and fishing knowledge to help other Veterans

PARK FALLS, Wis. (November 7, 2023) Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA) is a national 501(c)(3) public charity that devotes all its energy and resources to supporting the men and women wounded in combat who received the Purple Heart medal. WWIA supports these heroes by providing them the opportunity to participate in world-class outdoor sporting activities at no cost. The organization does this to recognize and honor our Veterans sacrifices, encourage independence and connections with communities, and to promote healing and wellness through camaraderie and a shared passion for the outdoors.

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) John J. McDaniel founded WWIA Foundation in 2007 in Apollo Beach, Florida. While he had retired from his military career in the U.S. Army, John felt his service to our Nation was not yet finished. I started out as a concerned citizen taking a few Wounded Warriors out on hunting and fishing trips, but quickly realized the need and demand for this type of healing was far greater that what I could provide on my own, McDaniel recalls. WWIA was granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in 2009 and has been growing and changing the lives of more American Heroes every year since. WWIA Foundation now serves over 175 Purple Heart Recipients each year at over 40 different events across North America.

Wisconsin fishing guide, Andy Hendrickson, is a Wounded Warriors in Action volunteer. A Veteran and Purple Heart recipient himself, Hendrickson has a good understanding of the types of trauma our Veterans return home with. He also understands all the ways fishing can help heal.

The very definition of a patriot, Hendrickson grew up in a military family. His father and grandfather both served, so after graduating from college with an associates degree in machining in June of 2000, he decided to join the U.S. Army on active duty. Hendrickson completed basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, followed by 14 weeks of additional job training at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.
Hendricksons first duty station was at Camp Casey in Korea, just a few miles outside the DMZ between North and South Korea. Hed remain stationed at Camp Casey for a 12-month period, which included the Sept 11th attacks. After a brief stay at Fort Lewis, Washington, Hendrickson was promoted to Sergeant in February of 2003 and was deployed to Iraq in April of 2003.
Our logistical base was located just outside of the BIAP (Baghdad International Airport) boundaries. I was a squad leader and shop foreman in charge of eight soldiers, Hendrickson recalls. Our base would receive direct and indirect fire two or three times a day from enemy forces. Most times their rounds would land inside our walls but wouldn't hit areas with personnel. 
On January 6, 2004, however, a handful of Iraqi mortars finally connected with the roof of Hendricksons squads sleeping warehouse. The attack left him with severe shrapnel wounds to his neck and back. Hendrickson recovered and went back to full duty, finishing out his five-year enlistment and earning a Purple Heart for his great personal sacrifice in support of our American freedoms.
Like so many of our nations Wounded Warriors, Hendrickson returned home from service with both visible and invisible scars. Thankfully, his passion for fishing was still burning. The return to fishing eased Hendricksons mind and helped return his spirit to a place of peace.
Fishing equals healing! Hendrickson says, and I jumped back into my dream of living and guiding anglers in the Northwoods. I moved to Rhinelander, Wisconsin and started the first leg of that dream in late 2007.
Hendrickson spent almost all of his free time fishing and exploring the hundreds of new lakes at his disposal. I became friends with a couple seasoned fishing guides in the area who took me under their wings, he says. I learned so much from these guides and did a lot of watching and listening. Before long, I knew I had more than enough knowledge to start guiding on my own.
For the past 14 years now, Hendrickson has been living his dream. A member of the St. Croix Rods pro staff, he owns and operates Hendos Angling Expeditions, guiding anglers on the numerous lakes in Wisconsins storied Oneida and Vilas counties. He also regularly donates his time and volunteers his services and expertise in support of numerous Veteran organizations and events.

Fishing really is a great way to help bring healing to our Veterans, and thats why there are so many events that highlight taking veterans fishing, Hendrickson says. I love giving back to our Veterans through these events. One of them is the Wounded Warriors in Action Eagle River Musky Chal-Lunge, held every September in Eagle River. The event brings in 10 Purple Heart recipients from around the country for a few days of musky fishing and relaxation. WWIA organizes and hosts over 40 events like this one across the United States each year.

Hendrickson says he learned many things while on active duty, including leadership skills in the toughest environments, patience, and being thankful for each and every day after having a near-death experience. These life lessons are with him each and every day, and hes grateful to be able to apply what hes learned to help his clients and other Veterans he shares his boat with to catch more fish or just have a more enjoyable experience on the water.
There are Veterans all over who have invisible effects from war that could be physical or mental, Hendrickson says. Every day of my life, my own body hurts but I dont show it. Most Veterans like to blend in with the crowd and we dont flaunt what we have been through. Getting together in a boat or spending relaxing and fun time with others who have lived through similar experiences at WWIA events can be very beneficial. Its like taking a deep breath.

Special American-Made Rods to Support Real American Heroes


Left to right, Hendrickson, WWIA Foundation Founder Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) John J. McDaniel, and St. Croix Vice President of Marketing Jesse Simpkins, show one of the 1,000 Limited-Edition Premier rods that will be used to raise $40,000 for Wounded Warriors in Action and $40,000 for Take a Vet Fishing on Veteran's Day, this Saturday, November 11.

Beginning Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11, the St. Croix family is asking for help from the fishing community in raising a total of $80,000 to support our veterans through the healing work of Wounded Warriors in Action and Take a Vet Fishing. A fixed quantity of 1,000 Limited-Edition St. Croix Premier rods the number-one-selling American-made fishing rod series will be offered for sale. These 7 medium-light and medium power, fast action spinning rods wear the Take a Vet Fishing and Wounded Warriors in Action logos and will sell for $200. These high-performance multi-species fishing rods are a perfect fit to any anglers arsenal and are sure to be a treasured gift for any Veteran in your life. Most importantly, your purchase of one or more of these special rods will help St. Croix complete its mission of donating $40,000 each to the separate Take a Vet Fishing and Wounded Warriors in Action organizations.

These rods are expected to sell out quickly, so be ready to log onto beginning at 7:00 AM Central Time on Veteran's Day. Until then, if you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation to Wounded Warriors in Action, you can do so HERE. Thanks in advance for your support!
About St. Croix Rod
Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the Best Rods on Earth for 75 years.  Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing.  The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls, Wisconsin and Fresnillo, Mexico.  With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Avid®, Premier®, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.


Copyright © 2023 St. Croix Rod, All rights reserved.

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