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Local charity hosts first-annual Fishing with Military Heroes
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Woody Malone and Amy Stevens look over their catch during weigh-in at the first-annual Fishing with Military Heroes Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 17. - photo by Bob Christian

Veterans 3 Guns and the North Georgia Crappie Anglers teamed up over the weekend to put on the first-annual Fishing with Military Heroes fishing tournament for local area veterans that featured over 30 anglers taking part in the day-long event.

“This is our first time for veteran’s,” said event organizer Josh Thornton. “We do a Children’s Fall Classic that we have done for years, and we take out the Jericho House, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, boys and girls clubs through out the year, but this is our first year for this event and we plan to continue with it.”

Paired with members of the Crappie Anglers who provided boats and all needed fishing equipment, the teams began fishing in multiple locations on Lake Lanier at 6 a.m. Nov. 17.

Despite the near freezing temperatures of the morning as the day went on it turned into a near perfect fall day.

“It was definitely cold this morning,” said Crappie Angler President Woodie Malone. “But that’s when the crappie bite the best.”

The teams had the opportunity to participate in two events during the tournament: a total weight of their seven largest crappie and then a category for the largest single fish.

Malone and his crew of Amy Stevens and Janice McConnell were among the first groups to return to the dock at Bolding Mill Park and quickly set the mark as the team to beat with a seven fish weight total of 6 lbs, 14.2 oz. Stevens led the way for the team with a personal catch of 1lb 2 ounces that turned out to be the third largest fish caught on the day.

Over a lunch provided by Jim ‘N Nicks Community Bar-B-Q and courtesy of event sponsor Clear Comms, Craig Ehle explained some of the history behind Veterans 3 Guns.

“Our mission is trying to prevent veteran’s suicides. This is a non-profit based out of Dawson County,” Ehle said. “It started right in Dawson County and it is nationwide now. We have teams in Alaska, Maine, basically everywhere but Hawaii.”

After lunch Clear Comms CEO Robert Neidlinger gathered everyone together to announce the winners of event.

Giving Stevens all the credit, Malone’s boat held on to their early weight lead to capture first place overall in the total weight category.

They were followed closely by the largest team on the lake consisting of Chip Gibbs, Steven Hartwell, Dan Solla, Bill Martin, Blaine Martin, and James Pruitt who combined for a total weight of 6lbs 5.8 ounces. Hartwell’s personal catch of 1lb 6.2 ounces was good enough to capture the top prize as the largest fish as well.

Rounding out the day in third place in the total weight category was the team of Rick Hall, Jeremy Halladan, and Adam Hall with their seven crappie tipping the scales at 5lbs 12.6 ounces.

Slipping into second place, just ahead of Stevens, in the category of largest fish was Dennis Satterfield with his catch weighing in at 1lb 5.4 ounces.

For more information on Veterans 3 Guns and their mission to prevent veteran suicides, visit