Two veterans from New York are in Alaska after winning the fishing trip of a lifetime. It’s a “thank you” for their hard work helping other service members.
U.S. Army vet Rohan McGhie and U.S. Coast Guard vet John Fenech are in the Last Frontier trying to catch salmon.
“I caught, I’m told, a big dolly which, whatever that is. I’ve never heard of a dolly before,” Fenech said. “Rohan has caught the only keeper so far so he’s making me look bad.”
Fenech has fishing experience, but it’s all new for McGhie.
“First time ever fishing. When I was in the boat and everyone was catching I was like ‘man, this is totally not for me,’” McGhie said.
That feeling lasted only until he felt a tug on the line.
“When I felt that I was like, ‘is this is a fish or just some seaweed or something like that?'” he said.
McGhie reeled in the first salmon they could keep: a big silver. Since then, it’s been nothing but reds, but the guys aren’t discouraged.
They both work at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and volunteer with the group Edge4Vets, connecting former service members with jobs at the airport.
“Veterans are normally very disciplined, highly organized and work well under pressure, which is something you need to have at the airport,” Fenech explained.
It’s a personal cause for both men.
“A lot of friends that were in the military with me, when they came out, they had a lot of problems,” McGhie said. ”They couldn’t find work.”
“I want to help other veterans,” Fenech said. “I’m real big into giving back and if anybody’s going to get the job at the airport, I’d like to see a veteran get it first.”
These two are so dedicated to the work, they won this trip in recognition of their efforts to mentor and lead their fellow veterans to success in the civilian world. It’s a thanks they say they didn’t need.
“I wasn’t looking for anything back. I was just looking to help people. This has just been wonderful,” Fenech said.
The salmon the guys catch will head back to New York. It will be served at the next Edge4Vets lunch in September.