Wounded vet can fish thanks to special rod and reel

FORT BRAGG, NC (WTVD) -- Next to God, country, and family, William Stewart will tell you he loves fishing. But for several years now, fishing has been mostly a spectator sport for the Army specialist. Because of his injuries he wasn't able to haul in what he caught.

In 2012, Stewart was critically wounded during a mortar attack in Afghanistan. After months of rehab, in 2013, he came home to a hero's welcome and a new handicapped-accessible home. But getting around was tough. Last December a veteran's group gave him an electric wheelchair with tracks so he could go to the beach and fish.

"Just imagine him sitting at the beach with a rod and for an instant he has traveled back to a time when he was not injured," explained his stepdad James Wilburn.

But for Stewart, fishing was a 2-man job because while he can cast a line, he couldn't reel it in. That is until now. Terry Snyder's organization Operation North State has set Stewart up with three high-tech electric motor fishing reels. The group sponsors fishing tournaments around the state for wounded warriors.

"It's got a trigger on it so Will can put his hands on it and cast just like he normally would do. It's got a lot of horsepower to it," said Wilburn.

Operation North State specializes in helping wounded vets.

"We run six different venues around the state to take guys and gals out and let them do something that means a lot to them, get them out of the house, and put a smile on their faces," Snyder explained.

And a soldier who fought for our freedom now has the freedom to fish.

"Chillin' chilling just taking it easy," said Stewart.

Now he hopes to go shark fishing soon.

Operation North State is looking for other wounded warriors to help. For information, go to: http://www.operationnorthstate.com/about-us

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