Fontana-Rialto Elks Lodge charters deep sea fishing boat for 14 veterans, all expenses paid

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The Fontana-Rialto Elks Lodge team snapping a photo with veterans from Working Dogs for Warriors and Lighthouse Social Service Center on August 8th, in Dana Point.

On August 8th, the Fontana-Rialto Elks Lodge chartered an all-expenses-paid deep sea fishing boat out of Dana Point for 14 local veterans.

The lodge partnered with two non-profit organizations, Working Dogs for Warriors (in Rialto) and Lighthouse Social Service Center (in Colton), to treat a handful of its veteran members to an 8-hour fishing trip as a thank you for their service. 

USMC Veteran Frank Acosta and the boat captain off the coast of Dana Point.

“Our veterans must know we have not forgotten about them. So we thought it would be awesome to treat them to a relaxing day. So we rented two 15-passenger vans and drove everyone to the harbor, covered boarding expenses and all of the food,” said Jeremy Langley, Fontana-Rialto Elks Lodge exalted ruler.

The trip was made possible by a grant received by the Elks National Foundation, an entity dedicated to assisting Elks Lodges across the country in making a positive impact in their community. 

Veteran Michael Luna holding a sea bass, which was required to be put back into the ocean because it was not big enough.

“The veterans that joined us ranged in age from 25 to 70. Although it was a slow fishing day, our boat still caught three fish, a dorado, yellowtail, and small bass,” continued Langley. 

For one veteran passenger, the trip marked the first time on a boat since finishing his term in the U.S. Navy, while it was the first time another veteran passenger had ever been on a boat. 

“The 13 men and one woman that joined us were very appreciative. As a fisherman myself, I’m proud that we were able to pull this off, and it’s a shared experience that all of us will remember forever,” concluded Langley. 

To learn more about the Fontana-Rialto Elks Lodge, visit elks.org/lodges/home.cfm?LodgeNumber=2013.