Last fall a group of nine soldiers arrived in Menemsha to compete in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. The soldiers had been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and had traveled to the Island from Fort Belvoir in Virginia and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where they were recovering. The group came for respite, to breathe in the sea air and have a moment of normalcy.
“We like to think of it as an experiment in extreme saltwater therapy,” Bob Nixon said this week. Mr. Nixon and his wife Sarah have hosted the American Heroes Saltwater Challenge for the past four years. “This was a soldier’s first experience outside of the hospital and the family’s chance to be back in the real world and see what their new normal is like.”
This past fall Mr. Nixon, a documentary filmmaker, turned the camera on the five-day retreat. The documentary, called American Heroes Fishing Challenge, airs Monday, May 27, at 10 p.m. on the National Geographic channel.
Nearly all of the soldiers filmed in the documentary attended a premiere at the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday night. The event was hosted by Senators John McCain, Mary Landrieu, Lisa Murkowski and Sheldon Whitehouse.
For more information on the film and annual Saltwater Heroes Challenge, see the article National Geographic Documentary Celebrates Heroes of Front Lines and Derby.