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Stanley Moore Memorial Tournament to kick off

By CJ HADDAD / cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com - | Feb 25, 2021

A month-long fishing tournament in memory of a member of the Greatest Generation begins next month across Southwest Florida waters.

The Stanley Moore Memorial Tournament runs from the first of March until the end of the month and is a catch and release fly fishing tournament for wounded veterans.

The recently late Moore was a World War II Navy veteran with strong ties to the Sanibel FlyFishers. Larry Kendzior, a Fort Myers resident who created Fish with a Hero, organized the tournament in conjunction with local veterans to honor Moore’s memory. Fish with a hero began in 2014 and provides world class fishing and outdoor experiences and sponsors programs designed to assist participants in dealing with the effects of PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other disabilities and wounds of war.

“(Moore is) somebody that the veterans participating in the tournament really want to honor and remember his contribution to our country,” Kendzior said. “He spent a lot of time in the Southwest Florida area and was very well-known to the fishing community in the area.”

The tournament, taking place in local waters, is catch and release; fly fishing only. Cash prizes will be awarded to the largest fish in each of four categories: snook, redfish, spotted sea trout, and bluegill (Moore’s favorite fish). Additional bonuses will be paid if the winning fish are caught on a fly and a fly rod made by the participant. Many local professional guides and captains will be helping the veteran participants, and recognition awards will be given to winning guides and captains.

Any wounded or disabled veteran is eligible to participate in the program upon registration with Fish With a Hero and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (which Kendzior runs locally in Southwest Florida).

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF), founded in 2005, is a unique, community-based, nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to the physical and psychological rehabilitation of injured active-duty military personnel and veterans with disabilities. This is accomplished through the therapeutic and rehabilitative benefits of fly fishing, patience and relationship-building. Participants include: active duty military, disabled veterans, Guard, and Reserve personnel with VA disability ratings.

“According to the latest VA data, 20 veterans each day are killing themselves via suicide, primarily due to PTSD and traumatic brain injuries,” Kendzior said. “Recreational therapy, especially in the form of fishing, has been proven to be most effective in helping veterans cope. I’ve had two vets from our Cape Coral program tell me recently they would have been one of those 20 if it wasn’t for our services.”

Kendzior said the program involves about five to six fishing trips per month, camaraderie-building zoom calls, and equipment for the veteran participants to learn how to create their own fly rods. There is no cost to join the tournament or Fish with a Hero.

When veterans catch a fish, they take a photo of their catch and rod, submit a form and photo to tournament personnel, and be able to keep tabs on an updated leaderboard on social media.

Moore’s son, Pete Squibb, is the current president of the Sanibel FlyFishers.

Any wounded or disabled veteran is eligible to participate in the program upon registration with Fish With a Hero and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. The deadline is Feb. 28. Interested vets or volunteer guides may call Kendzior at (305)942-9678. Donations to fund tournament prizes and detailed tournament rules can be found at www.fishwithahero.com/2021-memorial-tournament.