First Congregational Church Branford, CT         

...where you are welcome!

Veterans' Outreach Mission
“Take a Vet Fishing”

“A blind person fishing? Are you crazy? I had been telling my 13 year old
'Dad can’t do that.'
I was wrong.
I caught no fish but I caught a little more of my manhood sitting at the foot of that cross.”
Bill Cray

The Veterans' Outreach Mission provides Christian outreach and fellowship to our Veterans in the CT VA Healthcare System and beyond. We offer friendship and comfort to the vets and their staff through relaxing activities that get them out of the clinical environment.

"Come, follow me" Jesus said "and I will make you fishers of men" - Matthew 4:19

The Veteran's Outreach Mission was founded in 2007 at First Congregational Church in Branford. "Take a Vet Fishing" which is the cornerstone program continues its mission with service to our country's veterans. The mission has grown to become a year round program which includes ice fishing and several fly tying classes with visually impaired veterans over the winter months. We start our fishing in the spring and continue right through the fall. We now have fishing events all over the state. We have had vets from WWII through the current war in Afghanistan. Our season ends with a Christmas luncheon for the vets at our church.

Our work with the CT VA now includes the West Haven VA, Newington VA, and Rocky Hill VA. We also work with the Errera Center in West Haven, Brownell House, The Harkness House and Homes for the Brave. The mission continues to grow.

From a mission standpoint, there are many beneficiaries. Most important are the veterans. Also receiving benefit from this outreach activity are our church members. The Veteran's Administration staff members have been very supportive and have benefitted themselves. Members of groups like Trout Unlimited, CARE instructors from around the state and non-church members in the community have joined our efforts, wanting to participate in this outreach.

Here are some vets from the Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center working on fly tying, a new program introduced in 2009.

“You took the group out of a parochial institution and into the freedom of a fishing event!
For one of us who had never in his life, to this point, never been fishing,
to another who could not reel in his numerous catches,
to the wonderful taste of home baked cookies,
to conversations and laughter..
For all this and more I Thank You.”
Charles C Castro Major USAF Retired

The Veteran's Outreach Mission and its cornerstone program "Take a Vet Fishing" continue to grow and provide support to our veterans. All the money we raise goes directly into the program. We are always in need of financial contributions and volunteers. There is much more to"Take a Vet Fishing" than its name implies. There is something for everyone to help with. We welcome you to come and see what we do.

Regards and Blessings,
"Take a Vet Fishing"

Follow Us On Facebook!

Here is another link to a video report posted on Patch recently re: TAVF Day at Manchester Coon & Fox Club

Here's an article about a May 2011 fishing trip
Here’s a video of an ice-fishing trip to Deer Lake on February 13, 2011
Here’s a recent article about the program from the New Haven Independent.
Read about this program in the UCC Newsletter
Read about a fly-tying session from Shore Publishing

Questions? Contact:
Jeff Buggee 203-488 – 5240 Cell 203-415 – 6322 E – mail
First Congregational Church 203-488 - 7201