Edwin Evers knows that on this Good Friday, he doesn't have to look very far to count his many blessings.
A man of faith with a great family, the Talala, Okla., resident has a deep appreciation for the freedoms enjoyed by Americans to do things as simple as to go bass fishing and to pursue a career in the outdoors.
Which is why the Major League Fishing champion is so intent on giving back this year to veterans who have paid for that freedom by spilling their own blood and being wounded in action as they served and defended our great land.
Specifically, Evers and his sponsor OPTIMA Batteries, have teamed up this Bassmaster Elite Series season to help raise money for the work of the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (http://www.wwiaf.org).
The Florida-based organization, a 501(c)(3) non-profit group founded in 2007, serves the nation's wounded combat warriors and recipients of the Purple Heart through the provision of world-class outdoor sporting activities like fishing with Evers.
One of those WWIAF activities in 2015 is Evers' "Healing Heroes in Action" fishing tour, a five-event fundraising-and-fishing effort following events this season on the Elite Series tour.
At such events, Evers teams up with a selected Wounded Warrior and they fish in his boat against a winning bidder and a second angling partner after the Elite Series event has concluded.
Such endeavors are a small means of helping to pay back the on-the-battlefield sacrifices that have seen more than 52,000-plus soldiers wounded in action in the combat theatres of Afghanistan and Iraq since U.S. military operations began after 9/11.
With the first "Healing Heroes in Action" effort already in the books, Evers said bidding continues over this weekend for the second such event.
"We had a great time at our first event down in Lake Charles, Louisiana at Grosse Savane Lodge," said Evers. "And already, here's our second one coming up. In fact, our second event is going to be at (Lake) Guntersville on Monday, April 13 following the Bassmaster Elite Series event there."
Evers said that like the other events this year, the highest bidder - bidding is conducted by posting on Evers' Facebook page on that particular event's thread - will have 24-hours after the bidding closes to make their donation directly to the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation Web site.
"Bidding (for this event) will close on Monday, April 6 at 12 p.m. CT," said Evers. "The winner will be announced that same day on Facebook."
Following the last Elite Series event on the Sabine River near Orange, Texas, Evers and Wounded Warrior James Holbrook, a 29-year-old Naval vet from San Antonio who was wounded by AK-47 fire and shrapnel wounds suffered during combat in Afghanistan back in 2007, fished together.
Wounded Warrior Tyson Scott, a 29-year-old Marine vet from Houston who was wounded by an exploding mortar round in Iraq back in 2006, teamed up with B.A.S.S. touring pro Dennis Tietje of Roanoke, La., to also fish the event.
Fishing at a moderately sized lake located at Grosse Savane Lodge, the team of Tietje and Holbrook caught 72 bass on the day while Evers and Scott caught 58.
With the two biggest bass on the day from each veteran and one big bass from each pro serving as the competitive format, Evers and Scott "won" with a total of 12 pounds, 7 ounces when compared to Tietje and Holbrook's total of 11 pounds, 3 ounces.
But the real winners were the two Wounded Warriors themselves, who smiled and laughed throughout the day as they experienced some of the best fishing action of their lives while also hopefully feeling the heartfelt gratitude from Evers, Tietje and the many others behind the "Healing Heroes in Action" effort.
By the way, the winning bidder for the trip, Jimbo Taylor of Oklahoma City, had a scheduling conflict and was unable to participate in the trip to Grosse Savane. That allowed Tietje to step in and fish with Holbrook while Evers fished with Scott.
For his highest bid, Taylor ended up getting to fish with Evers a few days ago at Grand Lake, site of the 2016 Bassmaster Classic in northeastern Oklahoma.
Now, with the second Elite Series event of the season looming in Alabama, Evers is excited to do it all over again at Guntersville.
"It's tax deductible on top of helping this great organization and this great cause," said Evers. "It helps these great people who have given so much to all of us, who have fought for our freedom (to be able to live the way we do)."
In addition to the fishing opportunity, there are other incentives to consider when bidding.
"The winner will get a great prize package from all of my great sponsors," said Evers. "That includes a Bass Pro Shops gift card, an OPTIMA Batteries charger, a Lowrance depth finder, etc. It's a prize package worth $2,000 and the list goes on and on."
In addition to the prize package and the fishing on Guntersville, this second event with Evers offers something a little extra this time.
"We're going to stream this whole thing live on Bassmaster.com," he said. "So the winning bidder will be out there either beating me or getting beat by me and all of their buddies back home will be able to watch it live as it's happening on that Monday."
All in all, there's ample reason for a bass angler to consider stepping up and helping out Edwin Evers as he helps out the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation.
"It's going to be a great event," said Evers. "A great event for a great cause."
Interested in helping out and having the chance to fish against Evers?
Then go to Evers' Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EdwinEversFishing to find all of the details and to place a bid before bidding for this event closes on Monday, April 6 at 12 p.m. CT.
The guess here is that you won't be sorry that you did.