Veterans take to Saginaw Bay for 8th annual Walleyes for Warriors

Two hundred and sixty veterans representing every branch of military, some still serving and even a few from World War II, took to the waters to catch the biggest walleye and perch possible in Bay County. (Photo: WEYI/WSMH)

LINWOOD, Mich. -- Veterans taking to the waters of Saginaw Bay for the 8th annual Walleyes for Warriors. The event paired those who defended our country with local boat captains for a day of fishing.


Two hundred and sixty veterans representing every branch of military, some still serving and even a few from World War II, took to the waters to catch the biggest walleye and perch possible.

For Vietnam veteran Larry Finkbeiner, this is the 7th time he’s participated.

"This has been an exceptionally good year," says Finkbeiner. "The water was outstanding and the event was outstanding."

Finkbeiner is from Kawkawlin and says he’s been fishing the bay since he was a baby but for a fellow vet on his boat, it was his first time.

"He said words could not explain about how they felt coming to do this today," says Finkbeiner.

Nels Larsen started the event in 2011, after attending a similar fishing tournament.

"I could tell that was my welcome home," says Larsen. "I was in Vietnam from '68 to '70 and that was the first time I’d had anything like that."

He wanted to make sure other vets felt the same appreciation.

"It's just a way of saying thank you and welcome home," says Larsen.

"This is our way of saying thank you for what you’ve given us," says Walleye for Warrior president George Lynch. "We’re all here today able to wave our flags and do what we want because of what they do to ensure our freedom."

If you ask him about his service, Finkbeiner remains humble.

"I served my country so the people could be free and that’s the way it is," says Finkbeiner. "If I had to do it over again, I’d do it right now."

However, he's very vocal about the positive influence Walleyes for Warriors has on vets.

"This event is very worthwhile and I don’t think it gets enough attention," says Finkbeiner. "The more veterans that can sign up, the better it will be."


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