Pictured left to right: Soldiers Johnnie Yellock II, Brian McGuire and Erich Ellis, with Nortrax Regional V.P., Dale Gessell, Brian and Jane Sage and Lance Sage at Sage’s Angle West Resort.
Nortrax Equipment Company, along with Sage’s Angle West Resort sponsored a special fishing trip May 31 – June 2, 2013 to the Northwest Angle of Lake of the Woods, MN for three wounded soldiers from Texas.
Dale Gessell, Regional Vice President of Nortrax, wanted a way to say “thank you” to military veterans, so he and friend, Lance Sage, came up with an idea to host a true north woods-style fishing trip. They contacted Operation One Voice (OOV) a not-for-profit corporation designed by police officers and firefighters dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the financial needs of the children and families of wounded and fallen Special Operations Forces soldiers. OOV chose three soldiers, Johnnie Yellock II, SSgt, Brian McGuire, 3rd Ranger Battalion, and Erich Ellis, a Marine special operator. All three men were wounded by IED blasts while serving in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
The soldiers were flown to Minneapolis and then flew approximately 375 miles north aboard a private flight to Warroad, MN. Upon arrival, they visited the Warroad Veteran’s Memorial and then traveled to Sage’s Angle West Resort, owned by Sage’s parents, Brian and Jane. That evening they were treated to a steak dinner by their hosts, the Sage family and Gessell. Bright and early the next morning, they were aboard boats and fishing Lake of the Woods.
The three soldiers enjoyed two full days of excellent fishing in somewhat chilly conditions. They caught primarily walleye, but also small mouth bass, perch and northern pike. They were treated to special shore lunches and home cooked meals.
Nortrax sponsored the trip by providing all travel and food expenses. The Sage family generously provided the cabin accommodations, boats, and bait.
“It was an honor to put on this special fishing trip for these guys. It’s just our small way of saying thank you to these soldiers who gave so much. Their positive outlook on life is absolutely remarkable. I am fortunate to have spent time with them,” said Gessell.