CAPE CORAL, Fla.- David Souders grew up fishing, but it was just a hobby until surgery at a VA hospital went terribly wrong.
“I was having complications from having served in the Philippines when I was in the Marine Corp. I went in for sinus surgery and [ended up with] a tear that was 4 cm. long. It caused a traumatic brain injury and I spent the next 10 days in surgical ICU,” said Souders.
Souder’s wife Judy says he suffered physically and mentally.
“I didn’t think I was ever going to get my husband back, as far as me knowing my husband mentally,” said Judy.
Then Souders went fishing, after a doctor told him to find something he loved to do as a kid.
“I had this older gentleman come up and put his hand on my shoulder and say, ‘hey what’s wrong with you Marine?’ And so we got to talking and he started teaching me how to tie streamer flies,” said Souders.
Souders started taking other vets to fish after that, and soon his nonprofit, Wounded Warrior Anglers, began. The nonprofit expanded and they moved into a building in Cape Coral.
“We’re going to be able to teach warriors that are anywhere from 60 to 100 percent disabled how to build rods. It’s not really about building the rods, it’s about taking their time off their problems,” said Souders.
The couple hopes to have more veterans take up fishing as a way to heal from their wounds, both physical and mental.
The company is a 501-C3, and is accepting donations for furniture, computers and fishing gear.