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Veterans catch some fun in McConnellsburg

June 07, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. -- U.S. Army veteran Raymond L. Johnson reveled in the company and the food as he munched on the "catch of the day" Sunday.

Johnson was responsible for much of that "catch," which prompted some good-natured teasing among friends and fellow veterans.

"I'm the man," he said, eliciting a round of laughter.

Johnson traveled to Fulton County, Pa., on a Veterans Affairs Medical Center trip sponsored by the Western Maryland chapter of the Sons of the American Legion and Fulton County Sportsmen's League.

"The country up here is beautiful. It's the first time I've ever seen the mountains," said Noble Woolford, a U.S. Navy veteran.

Event organizer Chuck Kave said Sunday marked the fourth trip of its kind for the group. Eight VA Center patients joined volunteers for a lunch capping off their time together.

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"We fix the fish up and clean it for them," said Ed Henson of the Fulton County Sportsmen's League.

"I just ate the rainbow trout, and, boy, was it out of this world," Woolford said.

Woolford had a couple bites of fish, but did not catch any of the trout stocked by the sportsmen's league. His friend, U.S. Air Force veteran Ronnie Pruett, caught three fish.

Henson said the sportsmen's league stocks McConnellsburg and Warfordsburg, Pa.-area creeks with 15,000 trout provided by the state each year. One caught Sunday was 14 to 15 inches long.

"It's nice of the people to invite us," said Dexter Cutler, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

"Not only would we come back here, we'd recommend it to others," Johnson said, saying it was his first time trout fishing.

"I'm not catching anything, but I still enjoyed myself," U.S. Army veteran Robert Scott said.

Kave described the event as "just a little bit of hospitality we can give to the veterans."

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