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Group of New York state troopers will take service members, veterans and families fishing Saturday

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About 50 Fort Drum soldiers, veterans and military family members will get a day out fishing on the waters of the St. Lawrence River on Saturday, as part of an effort coordinated by a group of state troopers.

New York North Country Troopers Assisting Troops, founded in April, has been raising money with several organizations and businesses for months to get the event together.

“These guys have given a lot to be in the position that they’re in, and we want to give something back,” said Michael C. Pastuf, a senior investigator in the Watertown barracks and an organizer of the trip.

The guests will be taken out during the day by a group of 12 professional fishing guides from Cape Vincent, Clayton, and Alexandria Bay, starting about 8 a.m.

After a few hours of fishing, the charter boats will come together at the Clayton Town Dock about 1:30 p.m., where they will be greeted by local first responders. The group is asking for the public to be at the dock around that time to welcome the honorees.

The event stems from an initiative from Troopers Assisting Troops, a collection of active and retired New Jersey state troopers who last year bused in a group of soldiers for a similar fishing event, and a lengthy procession that lined the road as soldiers came in for the event.

“It was one of those things you look at and think ‘there’s no way we can’t do that here,’” Mr. Pastuf said.

Many of the Fort Drum soldiers fishing Saturday are from the post’s 3rd Battalion, 85th Mountain Infantry Regiment, better known as the Warriors in Transition Battalion, which readies injured soldiers to either return to their unit or leave the service.

Adam A. Swenson, a state police investigator based in Alexandria Bay and one of the guides, said many of the soldiers from out of the area had not had an opportunity to do something like the fishing experience they will have Saturday.

“They probably don’t realize what we have up here,” he said.

Mr. Swenson said he hoped the fishing experience would be able to “give these guys a glimpse of what they’re fighting for.”

He added that the charter boat captains have sacrificed hundreds of dollars to offer the trips for free or at a reduced price for the day. On land the guests will have a shore lunch, and Mr. Swenson said several local businesses and restaurants have donated food for the event.

The group hopes that a successful event Saturday will help it create more events to support military service members and their families. More information about the event and the group can be found at www.nynctat.org, or by calling 767-7447.

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