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Veterans Sportsman Alliance takes vets fishing at Schwartz Sturgeon Pond

Posted at 4:10 PM, Sep 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 19:16:03-04

PARMA, Idaho — Veterans Sportsman Alliance makes it their mission to help disabled veterans get outdoors for a social and therapeutic experience in nature.

We caught up with this group as they had veterans out for a day of sturgeon fishing at Jim Schwartz Sturgeon Pond north of Parma, VSA is a non-profit that started in California and is now in five states including Idaho.

"The Idaho chapter is kind of new," said Jeremiah Johnsons of VSA Idaho. "We want to be able to spread the word about Idaho, really get out there and let veterans know we are here too."

Walt Modler is a Marine Corps veteran who served during the Vietnam War, he enjoyed a beautiful day on the pond as Walt and his fellow veterans reeled in dozens of sturgeon.

"It is nice to be out in the wild and enjoying something, it is great that we have groups that support veterans and keep them active," said Modler.

Veterans Sportsman Alliance takes veterans out hunting and fishing thanks to donations to help them with supplies, but they also rely on private landowners, farmers and places like Schwartz Pond.

Schwartz Pond stocks fish, rents out equipment and makes it really easy for anglers because they don't need a fishing license with the pond being on private property.

"We like to be able to drive right to our blinds so these guys don’t have to walk, we can just put them in the blinds, give them a chair, a heater, a shotgun and shells and say here you go let’s have some fun," said Johnson. "Most of them enjoy it, they get to talk about their stories, we get to tell them our stories so it’s a little different."

VSA takes disabled veterans to Schwartz Pond once a year, Walt Modler enjoyed fishing with his fellow veterans, but he also really enjoyed watching some of vets kids catch some sturgeon.

"Those veterans that brings their kids ,it is even better," said Modler. "The excitement of the first fish, especially if it's big the kids just love it."

If you are interested in donating funds, supplies or have a spot where VSA can take veterans, Jeremiah Johnson provided his email, jj@veteranssportsmanalliance.org.