Seafarers Waterfront Classic Again Honors Veterans


June 2018


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For photos from the event, download the full PDF of this edition of the Seafarers LOG, and visit the event's official Facebook page by clicking here.


Mutual respect, camaraderie and laughter were displayed abundantly throughout the latest iteration of the Seafarers Waterfront Classic.


The sixth annual event took place April 24 at the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center (PHC) in Piney Point, Maryland. As usual, it brought together members of the American Military Veterans Foundation (AMMILVETS), rank-and-file Seafarers, SIU and PHC officials and staff, contracted operators, vendors and other guests. Altogether, nearly 150 individuals participated in the yearly affair, which generates funds primarily for the AMMILVETS (formerly named the Wounded Warrior Anglers).


Fellowship on the 19 boats and at the dinner afterwards completely overshadowed a scarcity of fish for the second straight year. Some of the anglers reeled in catches, but there were no keepers of qualifying size.


“Not catching fish was just a blip,” said SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker, founder and chairman of the Seafarers Waterfront Classic. “We’re grateful that we have an event that brings together so many friends in a comfortable setting to honor those who have served. The main point is really to salute our heroes and enjoy the seafood feast together. The AMMILVETS guests are the stars of the show.”


AMMILVETS President David Souders emphasized how much he and the others from his group appreciated the warm welcome and the friendly treatment throughout their stay at the southern Maryland campus.


“It was a great time – it’s always a great time,” he stated. “Each year, we bring different guys up, so it’s not always the same people. Most of the individuals attending this year are Vietnam veterans dealing with PTSD. They initially were a little leery of getting on boats with people they don’t know, but we got there a day early, and they got to know people and were treated as family.


“It put a lot of them at ease,” Souders continued. “The key thing is the guys truly got the feeling we’re treated as family, and we feel the same about you.”


SIU Assistant Vice President Kris Hopkins helped plan and conduct the event. Based at the SIU hall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he frequently interacted with AMMILVETS personnel leading up to the classic. (The AMMILVETS is headquartered in Cape Coral, Florida.)


“I think it was another great event,” Hopkins said. “Any time that we can help out our veterans and contribute to their wellbeing it is worthwhile, and what better way than the Seafarers Waterfront Classic? As in past years, a great job was done by all in organizing the event and making it all happen. From Mike (SIU President Michael Sacco) and George to the school staff and the boat crews, everyone was great. Our industry came together to make this happen for a worthwhile cause. Kudos to the anglers, the leadership, everybody that’s involved – the school, the captains and the mates on the boats. In the end, what it does for the anglers and veterans is a great thing.”


The dinner included an awards ceremony plus an auction featuring paintings and other artwork, along with hand-built fishing rods. The latter items are part of an AMMILVETS therapy course named the Warriors’ Handcrafted Rod Building Program.


“Our focus is always on the veterans,” Tricker concluded. “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to host them, and I look forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come. I also extend a special thanks to (PHC Acting Vice President) Tom Orzechowski and the entire staff for working so hard and making it look easy. Their efforts definitely are not taken for granted.”


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Union Official Captures True Spirit Of Yearly Waterfront Outing for Vets


When SIU Executive Vice President Augie Tellez won an auction for a painting as part of the Seafarers Waterfront Classic, it seemed like a routine part of the evening.



But the union official had additional steps in mind. Tellez later that week donated the artwork to the American Military Veterans Foundation (AMMILVETS), and shipped it with a heartfelt letter that reflects the tenor of the annual gathering. Here’s the full text of the note sent to AMMILVETS President David Souders:


“It was a privilege and honor to once again participate in the AMMILVETS annual fishing tournament. It is obvious that the commitment and dedication exhibited by all involved to the care and wellbeing of our veterans is the key to mission success. I am proud to play a small part in the endeavor.


“Enclosed is the painting I won at the auction at Tuesday night’s festivities. I would like to donate it to the Foundation. May it hang on your walls as a token of the everlasting bond forged by the simple idea of getting folks together to go fishing each year. Besides the monies raised, the obvious good will towards our veterans is profound. Of significance in the painting is that the ship’s telegraph indication is set on “Finished with Engines”. Let it serve as a gentle reminder that our mission will never be finished with engines until every veteran in this country receives the care and attention they so rightfully deserve.


“Stay true to the course, hope to see you next year and as always I remain.”


Respectfully yours,

Augustin Tellez

Executive Vice President