CAPE CORAL, FL – This year’s Hooked Up 4 Veterans charity fishing tournament will be held Sunday, May 27th at Cape Harbour Marina, a venue with the ambiance and openness that makes it more accessible and fun for participants and attendees. While the name of the tournament has changed, the sponsors said the multiple activities will give everyone plenty to do throughout the day.


The American Military Veterans Foundation (AMMILVETS) 6th Annual charity fishing tournament is named in honor and memory of Larry Steponik, a two time Purple Heart recipient and very active member of the organization. Larry passed away on November 19, 2017. AMMILVETS names the event after one of its own fallen warriors each year, honoring them for their faithful devotion to our country and community.


All proceeds from the tournament will benefit AMMILVETS alternative therapy, financial assistance and sporting programs. Most services and programs are focused on helping veterans’ better cope with PTSD, especially those who may be considering suicide. Free programs include family retreats, rod crafting for veterans, harmony for veterans (music therapy), meals for veterans, peer-to-peer PTSD meetings, BBQ lunches, and fishing and firearm programs.


“We utilize the minds, hands and time of our veterans to keep them busy and help cope with their individual issues,” said Dave Souders, National Commander and Founder.  “Redirecting their focus offers a positive alternative to dwelling on negative thoughts.”


Over the years the event has been held in several venues, with last year’s tournament held at the Matlacha Community Park. This year, Cape Harbour Marina provides a venue unlike any in the past.


“Cape Harbour Marina offers the best of both worlds for participants and folks who just want to take part in the day’s activities,” said Souders. “Captains can launch their boats at the marina and kids have plenty of room to fish. And, in addition to all the other activities throughout the day, the shops and restaurants around the marina will be available to everyone who comes to this year’s event.”


“We’re happy to support the foundation by holding the event here at the marina,” said Frank Muto, Harbormaster at Cape Harbour Marina. “Understanding what AMMILVETS does for our veterans and how they make a difference in people’s lives really matters.”


“This year’s event raises the bar for what tournaments like this should aspire to,” said Adrian Costa, the tournament’s main sponsor and owner of Costa Mechanical Air Conditioning. “We all know fishing is fun and winning a tournament doubles the joy. But giving back is really what makes this event special. I’m glad we can financially sponsor the event each year and help the foundation raise funds to meet the special needs of our veterans.”


The fishing tournament begins at 5:00 p.m. on May 26, 2018 at KJ’s Fresh Grill, located at 10950 S Cleveland Ave, Fort Myers, FL 33909.  Complimentary food, soda and Budweiser products will be served beginning at 5:30 p.m.

All captains are required to check-in at 7:30 p.m. at KJ’s where they will receive their Captain’s Bags, tournament rules and weigh-in times.


The actual tournament begins with a shotgun start at Green Marker 1 at 7:00 AM and the Free Kid’s fishing derby will run from 9:00 a.m. – noon on the dock alongside Run Runners Restaurant. Kids can keep the rod and reel when the derby is over.


Tournament prize money ranges from $375-$1,500, with an $875 prize for 23rd place. There is significance in the number.


“The prize for 23rd place represents the number of veterans that commit suicide every day each year,” said Souders. “This epidemic has taken nearly 135,000 lives in the past 16 years, which is more than those killed-in-action in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars combined.”


The Sunday, May 27th event takes place at 5828 Cape Harbour Drive Cape Coral, FL 33914.  Most activities will be open from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. with raffles and silent auction beginning around 4:00 p.m. in the pavilion.


For more information on sponsoring, donating or entering the tournament, contact event co-chairs, David Souders at soudersd@ammilvets.org, Judy Souders at soudersj@ammilvets.org, Keith Campbell at campbellk@ammilvets.org or visit www.hu4v.com.



# # #


Editor’s Note:

Please let me know, in advance, if you plan on sending someone to the event as I will be out of the area that weekend and want to be sure we meet your needs. Appreciate whatever exposure you can give prior to and day of event. Dave will be available for any interviews about the event or to provide more detail on the programs and services offered to veterans.


Media Contact:

Ritch Blasi





About The American Military Veterans Foundation (www.ammilvets.org) 

The American Military Veterans Foundation (AMMILVETS) was originally founded in 2010 as the Wounded Warrior Anglers of America. The organization is a legally registered 501-c3 public charity that directs ninety-three cents of every dollar from donations to support veterans, helping them enjoy an active lifestyle with a variety of programs, including using the comradery and fun enjoyed through fishing and other activities. The high percentage for funding programs is achieved because all board members, executives and staff are volunteers – no one receives a salary or any kind of financial payment or incentive.


Since its establishment, the organization expanded its support to meet the growing needs of veterans including emergency relief, financial assistance, family retreats and other services. We passionately design and provide diverse alternative therapy programs and services, such as its ongoing PTSD Summit and peer-to-peer meetings, with the help of like-minded partners and supporters who believe as we do in “changing lives, one warrior at a time.” With a reported 23 daily suicides by veterans (in only 21 states), AMMILVETS has focused more efforts and support toward PTSD assistance and suicide prevention.

Recent Posts