What a treat I had this month giving a tour of our LiveAquaria.com aquaculture facility to some military veterans from Camp American Legion and the staff members who brought them along.
To quote from the Camp American Legion website: On the shores of Big Carr Lake, in the heart of the Northwoods, there is a haven with a mission to provide rest, relaxation, recuperation and rehabilitation to Wisconsin veterans of all ages, active duty military service members and their families. Camp serves those who have a physical or psychological medical condition, any and all types of service and non-service related illnesses, injuries or disabilities.
Eligibility is any Wisconsin veteran or active duty service member with a physician documented, physical or psychological illness, injury or disability, Active duty military recently (within the last 9 months) returned from a deployment and any survivor family-of-a-fallen who has recently (over the past year) lost a service member.
The camp serves over 500 veterans and active duty military every summer. This summer one of the veterans saw a newspaper article about our LiveAquaria.com aquaculture facility and asked the camp leadership if they could come here for an outing. We were glad to give an instant, “Yes! Come on over!”
The veterans who came for the tour ranged in ages from 71 to 92. Good “troopers” as they were, they were on their feet the entire the 90-minute tour, fascinated to see live saltwater coral growing in the soon to be frozen tundra of northern Wisconsin’s Northwoods.
What a delight to see the smiles on their faces as they looked around at live fish and coral, discovered in this most unexpected place for them to be found.
Our staff, as always, was great, diving right in to explain how fish are fed, how fast corals grow, why are there fish in some of the coral growing tanks, and so on. It was wonderful as the questions and the time flew by quickly.
Kevin Kohen, our Director of LiveAquaria, took time out of his busy day to explain some of the technical details that laymen like me don’t have the answers to. The veterans ate it up and, from what the staff told me more than a week later, were still talking about their tour.
The veterans were continually saying “Thanks!” for the tour, but it is really us that should be thanking them. From the Occupation Forces in Japan, to the Vietnam era, this group of veterans served our country well. We thank them for their service and are glad to have a small part in making the day a good one for them as they toured our facility.
Thanks veterans from Camp American Legion! Our hat is off to you! (And a big thanks to Jeff Koser, our photographer, for capturing these moments on camera!)