MOREHEAD CITY N.C. -- Morehead City hosted a Military Appreciation Day which supplied free fun for more than 500 service members and their families with food, music and fishing May 31.
MAD is an event organized and executed completely by volunteers to provide a day of fishing for active duty, guard and reserve service members. The event also includes activities for families and a Southern-style cookout.
More than 100 boats participated in fishing activities, including 114 volunteers and three chartered fishing vessels.
“A lot of good people came together to help show their support for our military,” said John Polosky, a coordinator for the MAD.
The Morehead City MAD event came with spectacular weather, tremendous fishing and record-breaking attendance, according to Polosky, who is an Army Vietnam War veteran.
“I am nowhere near a great fisher, but I had a blast,” said Lance Cpl. Kurtis Anderson, a computer repair technician with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28. “I am lucky my buddies dragged me out of bed to come out with them.”
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point's Single Marine Program boarded the Carolina Princess, one of the three chartered fishing vessels. The vessel traveled for nearly two hours to reach its first fishing spot nearly 50 miles out at sea.
The ride out gave everyone plenty of time to find their sea legs, according to Anderson.
Once the boat stopped all the fishers manned their poles, loading the hooks with bait and casting them into the dark blue ocean.
“It seemed like the fish were jumping into the boat at how fast people were catching them,” said Anderson.
The boat visited six prime fishing spots before bringing the party back to shore.
“My favorite part by far was reeling one in or watching some guys try to catch the big ones that were hiding right below the surface,” he said.
The crew of the ship roamed around checking the length of fish determining whether they were large enough to keep.
“We had a lot of keepers,” said Lance Cpl. Brandon Dees, a AV-8B Harrier mechanic with Marine Attack Training Squadron 203.
The staff on the Carolina Princess was always around to help if someone needed it, according to Dees. The crew even cleaned all the catches for the group back ashore.
“It was worth getting up early up for,” said Dees. “There are not many other things I can think of doing on the weekend better than just kicking back with some friends in the middle of the ocean.”
The day continued for the group after docking, as they joined the festivities taking place on the land and enjoying the Southern cookout that was waiting for them.
“All we want to do is just give all the service members a simple thank you for what they do and sacrifice for us every day,” said Polosky.