A Saltwater Salute to Veterans honors veterans with a free fishing trip on Thursday, May 2.

The calm and relaxation one can experience while on the water can do wonders for the soul. Fishing can be a therapeutic experience for anyone, but even more so for military veterans who experience anxiety, depression or PTSD as a result of their service.

Pocket Change Inshore Fishing Charters and the nonprofit VetCatch are sponsoring A Saltwater Salute to Veterans on Thursday, May 2. A Saltwater Salute to Veterans takes place in St. Petersburg. The event provides veterans a four-hour chartered fishing trip with a captain, a delicious lunch, a chance to connect with other veterans and entry into a raffle for prizes, all of which is free.

Now in its fifth year, the event was started by Timothy Wilson and captain Anthony Corcella with a goal to help veterans “connect with others alike, on the water, for therapeutic fishing and social relations.”

Corcella is the owner of Pocket Change. He became passionate about taking veterans on the water after a call from a veteran who kept getting turned down by other companies because he had a wheelchair. Corcella took the veteran on his boat and witnessed a true change in the man’s demeanor that he described as calming. After that, Corcella adapted his boat and became passionate about getting veterans on the water.

“If you see their face when the breeze hits them on a boat, everything changes for them. It becomes a feeling where everything calms down for them.” Corcella said. “That’s why we put this day on. We have this day of awesome fellowship with men and women who have served this country. It’s a day of us giving back to them. You know what? Let’s have a calm day. It’s a no pressure day. If we catch fish, it’s a bonus.”

Event coordinator Sarah Branston said they will take out as many veterans as possible and currently have over 100 signed up. The only limiting factor is financial constraints.

A Saltwater Salute to Veterans has a need for monetary donations, raffle items and captains.

Registration is required to participate in A Saltwater Salute to Veterans.

To register, email asaltwatersalutetoveterans@gmail.com or call 813-370-6567. To donate, reach out through email or phone, or donate via PayPal at www.paypal.me/roma21690.

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