Morehead City N.C. United States --
More than 500 service members from duty stations all throughout North Carolina lined up early Saturday morning to board 120 boats and spend the day fishing at the Morehead City Waterfront for the Military Appreciation Day. The day’s events were sponsored by Military Appreciation Day Inc., with the help of local and regional businesses.
“This event was held to take active-duty troops out fishing on the open ocean and tell them thank you for their service to our country,” said Scott Kriger, MAD volunteer boat coordinator. “Everyone seemed to come back in to the dock with smiling faces from both the captains and the troops with a lot of pictures and a lot of fish.”
Many service members arrived as early as 4 a.m. ready to fish.
“I enjoyed my time out today,” said Corey Siebert, an active-duty service member from Cherry Point. “I usually go out fishing every weekend in my own boat and now I have learned some new techniques that I can apply when I go out.”
While the service members were out on the water, volunteers set up activities back on shore for the family members and friends of the men and women out fishing.
“It is important to stop and share something that the fishermen love with the troops who protect our freedom,” said Kriger. “(Military Appreciation Day) gives them a day off too, along with entertaining their families back on shore,” said Kriger.
Bounce houses, face painting, boat tours, pier fishing and many other activities were planned for those who came to enjoy the festivities and wait for their loved ones to return.
“I think this was a good cause and I am glad that organizations out there are willing to help families and offer them some kind of reprieve from the everyday stresses of military life,” said Natasha Pearson, a spouse of an active-duty service member stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River. “It is very much appreciated. It helps us to step away from our lives and spend time together and helps us to appreciate each other.”
An afternoon barbecue was provided for the families and friends enjoying the on-shore festivities while the service members fished. As the service members slowly started to trickle back to the docks with their day’s catch, they met loved ones at the evening barbecue.
“I think today was well worth it,” said Siebert. “My family came out to show their support for me. My mom, dad and my brothers came out to spend time with me. They know how much I love to fish, so they knew how much this meant to me.”
MAD is held twice a year, once in Morehead City and once in Southport, N.C.
The next MAD will be held on Sept. 21.