Fishing with our nations heroes

As a Bassmaster Elite Series pro, I get to do a lot of special things in and out of the area. For example, one that is close to my heart is working with the disabled and also giving back to those that are less fortunate.

Recently I enjoyed another. I had the honor to go on the behalf of B.A.S.S. to do something that we fishermen take for granted; I got to take a person out fishing.

It was not just any person, it was a soldier who had just come back from the war.

The event was Warriors on the Water www.warriorsonthewater.com

Some of us pro-fisherman went to North Carolina to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. We got to tour the base and see what they do in everyday life.

One thing that got to me was seeing those who had just got back 10 days before we got there, especially the 18- and 19-year-old men. Yes, they are men and true professionals at what they do.

We were there signing autographs for them and every one of them said to me, &8220;Thank you.&8221; My response was, &8220;No, thank you for what you do for me and my family. Thank you for letting me live my dream.&8221;

Then we got to meet the partner we would carry out on the lake the next day. The man that was with me was a Black Hawk captain. We talked about our families and how I got started fishing full time. This was the best thing I had ever been involved with.

As a kicker, I let him drive me around in my boat for the day. He told me that he had not been in a boat in eight years. This was the best moment as I looked over at him driving me around. I could see that he had no care in the world. His mind was at what you would call a &8220;happy place.&8221; That made me feel great.

Now I have a new outlook on why people say to pray for the men and women that are fighting overseas.

To all of the men and women overseas, thank you for letting me live my dream. Without you I wouldn&8217;t have had the opportunity to share with others.

Anybody can go to this event. Just sign up, you will be glad you did. I was.

Calera&8217;s Keith Phillips is in his second season on the Bassmaster Elite Tour. He just returned from competing in Oklahoma. Fans can track his success at www.elitekeith.com