By Kathleen Rogers

“When people say they cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a child, I tell them they are right,” stated Kelly Kowall. At the age of 20, her son, SPC Corey Kowall was killed in Afghanistan. On September 20, 2009, he was dispatched to lend aid to fellow soldiers where IED’s had been detected. Corey Kowall gave his life to defend our country and was honored with the Bronze Star. His mom, Kelly Kowall, felt compelled to “bring something good from a horrible tragedy.” She founded My Warrior’s Place, because “when you focus on giving and know you are making a positive difference in the lives of others, it fuels your strength and helps heal you.”

My Warrior’s Place, located in Ruskin, provides a variety of services to veterans, military service members, first responders and their families, but most importantly it is a place of refuge and healing. This worthy cause is in need of our community’s support. My Warrior’s Place will be holding a fundraiser called the BATTLE OF THE BAY by Land, Sea & Air on the first weekend in October, the 6th- 8th. This fundraiser will host many activities including a fishing tournament, a survival race, a shooting competition and a skydiving competition. In addition, there will be a Ride for the Fallen Poker Run, which is a traveling poker game competition.

Kowall is very excited to have celebrities participate in BATTLE OF THE BAY this year including: Ernesto Gainza for Skydiving (Ernesto holds 3 Guinness World Records for skydiving), Mack Roesch, Sara Harrison, Jonathan Ruiz, Ian Deyerle and Amanda Tchir (Team Strike A Pose who was this year’s winner on the TV Show Spartan), Reginald Rountree (Anchor of Channel 10 News and retired cop) and Ronnie Green (TV Host of A Fishing Story).

Battle Of The Bay Event Schedule

-Survival Race Competition (Two Person Teams) Saturday, October 7th from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., starting at My Warrior’s Place. Entry fee is $100 per team.

-Fishing Tournament (Two Person Teams) Saturday, October 7th starting at 7:00 a.m. and finishing on Sunday, October 8th at 1:00 p.m. A captains meeting will be held Friday, October 6 from 6:00-6:30 p.m. Entry fee is $120 per team.

-Shooting Competition (Individual) Saturday, October 7th starting at 8:00 a.m. and finishing on Sunday, October 8th at 1:00 p.m. It will be held at Gun Craft’s Outdoor Range located at 2102 24th St. SE in Ruskin. Participants must be 18 years of age. Entry fee is $50.

-Skydiving Competition (Individual) Saturday, October 7th starting at 8:00 a.m. and finishing on Sunday, October 8th at 1:00 p.m. It will be held at the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales. Participants must be 18 years. Entry fee for Expert is $50 and Novice is $170.

-Ride For The Fallen Poker Run Saturday, October 7 from 8:00 a.m.- Noon. The Ride will start at AMVETS Post 44. Entry fee per rider is $20 and passenger is $10. It includes one poker hand each.

For information, visit There are many other ways to lend assistance to this great cause from contributing wish list items on the website to volunteering to organizing a group yard work day. My Warrior’s Place is a 501 (c) (3) located at 101 22nd St. NW in Ruskin.

Kowall stated, “I believe that you leave a footprint in the life of everyone you come into contact with so always strive to make that footprint a positive one”. Kowall was the recipient of this year’s Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award and WEDU’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

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