Alaska trip for veterans embarks on 8th year

Posted at 6:01 PM, Apr 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-03 20:10:31-04

Wounded veterans in the Treasure Valley have a once in a lifetime opportunity thanks to Boise's American Legion Post #2.

Each year, they invite a few veterans to go on a free fishing trip in Alaska.

Several past recipients met up on Sunday.

At the Express Cafe in Meridian, former fishing partners Harold Eshelman and Chad Brumpton got the chance to catch up.

Eshelman is the one who came up with the idea for the Alaska fishing trip while watching TV one night. He was inspired to give back in a big way by offering 2-3 veterans the chance to get away each and spend some time in the Great Outdoors each year.

"It's something that not everybody gets to do," Eshelman said. "We like to make this part payment for what these guys have lost fighting for our country."

Brumpton was deployed to Iraq in 2005 as a Marine. It was on a mission during his deployment that sent him home with severe injuries after the tank he was in drove over an IED.

"It tore a hole through the bottom of the tank and pretty much broke every bone below my knees to pieces," Brumpton said.

Brumpton spent seven months in a hospital upon returning to the states. It was in 2008 that his legs were amputated below his knees.

Prosthetic limbs make it so he can now walk easily. He has since discovered that nothing holds him back as he mountain bikes, snowboards and rides motorcycles.

Brumpton spent a week in Alaska in 2011.

The recipients' trip for 2016 is scheduled for the first week in August.

"Fishing can get frustrating when you're not catching anything but we were catching a lot quite quickly," Brumpton said. "So, it was just a really, really great time."

You can show your support financially by partaking in the American Legion Post #2's quilt raffle.

Tickets can be purchased at the Express Cafe or at the Grange Flea Market. The winner will be drawn on July 4 at the Express Cafe.