Commissioned Articles

"Warriors of the Water"

An article for Lund Magazine

Most summer mornings, when the sun rises over the trees along Saskatchewan’s Tobin Lake, you’ll find Blake Emmons quietly casting a line, shooting ripples across the glassy surface as he sits in contemplative serenity. He says Tobin lake has the best walleye fishing in the world. He says he knows a spot where they’re always biting. He says he’ll never tell me where that is. Emmons has spent the majority of his summers on that lake, and he fondly recalls the times he’s spent making memories with friends, family and, perhaps more importantly, fish.   Last Memorial Day, Emmons was fishing with an old military buddy when they began to talk about the men they knew from the service. “We know a lot of guys who were injured, both physically and mentally, and we wanted to do something to show that we care,” Emmons said. The two men talked about inviting a few wounded veterans to Nipawin, Saskatchewan for a weekend of carefree camaraderie and a chance to experience world-class fishing on the Saskatchewan River and Tobin Lake. “We had no idea it was going to turn into such an big event,” said Emmons. “After word got out about the weekend, we kept hearing from vets who wanted to get involved. How could we say no?"   After teaming up with Wounded Warriors, an organization with American and Canadian branches that offers support for wounded veterans, Emmons and his team helped to organize the Wounded Warriors Weekend in August, giving 112 wounded American and Canadian veterans an opportunity to get out on the water and have some fun. The Wounded Warriors team knew they needed more support to make this event a success, so Emmons reached out to Lund about a sponsorship. “I've always been a fan of Lund boats, and since much of the weekend centered around fishing, they were the first group I thought to contact. I didn't expect that they would take such an interest in the event.”   Lund donated a WD-14 with a 9.9 Mercury engine and a Shoreland’r trailer for the event, and for every $10 donated, patrons received a raffle ticket for the chance to win the package. Emmons continued, “We called the fishing portion of the weekend ‘The Lund Fishing Challenge.’ It was a challenge, not a tournament. It wasn't about winning. It was about having fun.”   Joe Rustenburg, a Canadian veteran living with post traumatic stress disorder, and his wife Melanie found out about the weekend through Facebook. Initially, Melanie didn't think about attending the event as a guest. She wanted to volunteer. “I read about it, and I was immediately hooked,” Melanie said. “The weekend sounded like such a great idea, and I wanted to help in any way I could.” After offering to volunteer, Melanie was encouraged to participate in the event with her husband. “I can’t explain how much it meant to me to see Joe feeling comfortable and relaxed – to see the real Joe just having fun and being himself,” Melanie said.   Joe took up fishing in 2009 after returning from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. “It has a peaceful, calming effect on me,” said Joe. “Getting out on a boat and casting a line into the water really helps me feel peace.” As a lifelong fishing enthusiast, Melanie was excited when Joe turned to fishing as a means for therapy. “He never really fished before, but he loves it now,” she said. “When we’re fishing, everything is okay. All of our problems go away, and we can just relax and have fun with each other.”   Justin Bednar, an American Army veteran, participated in the event after the American branch of Wounded Warriors reached out to him. “When they called me and told me about the weekend, I immediately wanted to participate.” A lifelong fisherman, Joe was excited about the opportunity to fish with a group of people going through similar circumstances as his. “I’ve always enjoyed fishing. Now, more than ever, I can see the therapeutic effect it has on me. When I’m on the water, I can forget about everything and just fish.”   After sustaining combat wounds in April 2007, Justin found himself in the same position as most of the vets who participated in the weekend. “You get out and you think, ‘This is it. How am I going to adjust to this new life?’ It’s easy to get depressed, and I think a lot of guys have a really hard time with that. The Wounded Warriors Weekend gives us a chance to connect with one another – to share stories and offer support. You talk to different guys and you see the hope. You see that this isn't the end. You see that there are guys just like you who wake up in the morning wondering how to get through another day. A weekend like that really clears your head, and I think a lot of guys walked away thinking, ‘Well, maybe it’s not so bad.”  Out on the waters of Lake Tobin and the Saskatchewan River, the wounded veterans forgot about their mental and physical scars. They forgot about their limitations. They forgot about all of their struggles and just fished. Joe and Melanie Rustenburg had heard that Lake Tobin was known for great walleye fishing, and they were excited to experience it for themselves. “Even though this weekend wasn’t about winning, Melanie and I had a little competition ourselves,” said Joe. “I caught nine walleye. I won.” Other vets reeled in scores of walleye, northern pike, and lake sturgeon, two of which weighed in at over 40 pounds.   The Wounded Warriors Weekend gained immense popularity throughout the town of Nipawin and surrounding areas of Saskatchewan, drawing praise from local and provincial officials, as well as residents who enthusiastically donated time, money, and their own boats for use during the weekend. Joe Rustenburg said, “You know, we Canadians aren't known for being as patriotic as Americans, but when I saw how many gracious men and women donated their boats so that there would be enough for all of us, I knew that the support was there. It was comforting to see how many people care about us.”   Reflecting on the weekend, Blake Emmons said, “What started out as a couple guys getting together and fishing turned out to be so much more. There was a lot of healing that happened, and it’s the kind of healing that has nothing to do with pills. We’re so happy about what we did.”   So will there be a 2013 Wounded Warriors Weekend? “It’s a go," Blake says. "I called Lund and asked them to sponsor again. Before I even finished asking they said, ‘We’re in!’ This whole event pivots around Lund. Without them, there would be no Wounded Warriors Weekend.”

Most summer mornings, when the sun rises over the trees along Saskatchewan’s Tobin Lake, you’ll find Blake Emmons quietly casting a line, shooting ripples across the glassy surface as he sits in contemplative serenity. He says Tobin lake has the best walleye fishing in the world. He says he knows a spot where they’re always biting. He says he’ll never tell me where that is. Emmons has spent the majority of his summers on that lake, and he fondly recalls the times he’s spent making memories with friends, family and, perhaps more importantly, fish. 

Last Memorial Day, Emmons was fishing with an old military buddy when they began to talk about the men they knew from the service. “We know a lot of guys who were injured, both physically and mentally, and we wanted to do something to show that we care,” Emmons said. The two men talked about inviting a few wounded veterans to Nipawin, Saskatchewan for a weekend of carefree camaraderie and a chance to experience world-class fishing on the Saskatchewan River and Tobin Lake. “We had no idea it was going to turn into such an big event,” said Emmons. “After word got out about the weekend, we kept hearing from vets who wanted to get involved. How could we say no?" 

After teaming up with Wounded Warriors, an organization with American and Canadian branches that offers support for wounded veterans, Emmons and his team helped to organize the Wounded Warriors Weekend in August, giving 112 wounded American and Canadian veterans an opportunity to get out on the water and have some fun. The Wounded Warriors team knew they needed more support to make this event a success, so Emmons reached out to Lund about a sponsorship. “I've always been a fan of Lund boats, and since much of the weekend centered around fishing, they were the first group I thought to contact. I didn't expect that they would take such an interest in the event.” 

Lund donated a WD-14 with a 9.9 Mercury engine and a Shoreland’r trailer for the event, and for every $10 donated, patrons received a raffle ticket for the chance to win the package. Emmons continued, “We called the fishing portion of the weekend ‘The Lund Fishing Challenge.’ It was a challenge, not a tournament. It wasn't about winning. It was about having fun.” 

Joe Rustenburg, a Canadian veteran living with post traumatic stress disorder, and his wife Melanie found out about the weekend through Facebook. Initially, Melanie didn't think about attending the event as a guest. She wanted to volunteer. “I read about it, and I was immediately hooked,” Melanie said. “The weekend sounded like such a great idea, and I wanted to help in any way I could.” After offering to volunteer, Melanie was encouraged to participate in the event with her husband. “I can’t explain how much it meant to me to see Joe feeling comfortable and relaxed – to see the real Joe just having fun and being himself,” Melanie said. 

Joe took up fishing in 2009 after returning from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. “It has a peaceful, calming effect on me,” said Joe. “Getting out on a boat and casting a line into the water really helps me feel peace.” As a lifelong fishing enthusiast, Melanie was excited when Joe turned to fishing as a means for therapy. “He never really fished before, but he loves it now,” she said. “When we’re fishing, everything is okay. All of our problems go away, and we can just relax and have fun with each other.” 

Justin Bednar, an American Army veteran, participated in the event after the American branch of Wounded Warriors reached out to him. “When they called me and told me about the weekend, I immediately wanted to participate.” A lifelong fisherman, Joe was excited about the opportunity to fish with a group of people going through similar circumstances as his. “I’ve always enjoyed fishing. Now, more than ever, I can see the therapeutic effect it has on me. When I’m on the water, I can forget about everything and just fish.” 

After sustaining combat wounds in April 2007, Justin found himself in the same position as most of the vets who participated in the weekend. “You get out and you think, ‘This is it. How am I going to adjust to this new life?’ It’s easy to get depressed, and I think a lot of guys have a really hard time with that. The Wounded Warriors Weekend gives us a chance to connect with one another – to share stories and offer support. You talk to different guys and you see the hope. You see that this isn't the end. You see that there are guys just like you who wake up in the morning wondering how to get through another day. A weekend like that really clears your head, and I think a lot of guys walked away thinking, ‘Well, maybe it’s not so bad.”

Out on the waters of Lake Tobin and the Saskatchewan River, the wounded veterans forgot about their mental and physical scars. They forgot about their limitations. They forgot about all of their struggles and just fished. Joe and Melanie Rustenburg had heard that Lake Tobin was known for great walleye fishing, and they were excited to experience it for themselves. “Even though this weekend wasn’t about winning, Melanie and I had a little competition ourselves,” said Joe. “I caught nine walleye. I won.” Other vets reeled in scores of walleye, northern pike, and lake sturgeon, two of which weighed in at over 40 pounds. 

The Wounded Warriors Weekend gained immense popularity throughout the town of Nipawin and surrounding areas of Saskatchewan, drawing praise from local and provincial officials, as well as residents who enthusiastically donated time, money, and their own boats for use during the weekend. Joe Rustenburg said, “You know, we Canadians aren't known for being as patriotic as Americans, but when I saw how many gracious men and women donated their boats so that there would be enough for all of us, I knew that the support was there. It was comforting to see how many people care about us.” 

Reflecting on the weekend, Blake Emmons said, “What started out as a couple guys getting together and fishing turned out to be so much more. There was a lot of healing that happened, and it’s the kind of healing that has nothing to do with pills. We’re so happy about what we did.” 

So will there be a 2013 Wounded Warriors Weekend? “It’s a go," Blake says. "I called Lund and asked them to sponsor again. Before I even finished asking they said, ‘We’re in!’ This whole event pivots around Lund. Without them, there would be no Wounded Warriors Weekend.”


"The Family that plays together..."

An Article for Boston Whaler Magazine

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “My parents are amazing people,” but when it comes from the children of Art and Louise Yergey, you get a sense that there is more to it than obligatory appreciation. For more than a half-century, Art and Louise have devoted themselves to a life of boating and family, instilling in their children and grandchildren a deep and abiding love for being out on the water.  Art and Louise were married in 1954, a mere three weeks after they met. “I knew I would marry Louise as soon as I saw her, and I told her so on our first blind date,” Art says. Louise grew up in Columbus, Georgia, and anyone who knows her will tell you she’s a true Georgia Peach. Art was raised in central Florida, not far from their home in Winter Park. Boating has been a part of the Yergeys' lives since their early days as a couple. “It’s such a huge part of their marriage. It’s who they are,” says their daughter, Missy. Art and Louise have enjoyed a number of boats throughout the years, but they've always had a particular fondness for Boston Whalers. Art says, “A Boston Whaler is a true turnkey operation. Every inch of space is utilized. Every nook and cranny has a purpose.”  “We've always had Boston Whalers,” says their son, Palmer. “Dad used a Whaler when he taught us how to drive because he said a Whaler is the safest boat. And he’s right – you never feel safer than when you’re on a Boston Whaler.”   Art and Louise enjoy spending time aboard their 345 Conquest, 190 Outrage and 130 Sport in both Winter Park and the Bahamas. “In 44 years, we haven’t missed a summer in the Bahamas, and they have all been great,” says Art. The Yergeys have had a Whaler in tow on every journey to south, as their children recall. “My brother David and I used to take out the Whaler and catch our food for the day,” Palmer says. “There was always something to catch, and we’d bring it back for Mom to cook. She didn't mind, as long as the fish was cleaned before we brought it on the bigger boat. That was her one rule,” he says. “Mom was always a trooper,” says David. “She could whip up an amazing meal right in the galley on the boat. She always made sure everyone was well fed.”  Missy, a professional diver at Walt Disney World, remembers finding a love for diving in the Bahamas. “Mom and Dad are the reason I got into scuba diving,” she says. “We would take the Whaler out and go snorkeling and diving for hours. They taught me everything.”  After years of renting places in the Bahamas, Art and Louise finally purchased a home in the Abaco islands four years ago, equipped with a guesthouse that they call “The Snoring Shack.” They enjoy entertaining family and guests, and taking one of their boats out for some light island hopping or a longer overnight trip. “At their age, you wouldn't think they would be as eager to get out on the boats, but they’re still at it,” Palmer says. “They’re a great team,” David says. “My dad couldn't have asked for a better first mate than my mom. She’s always right by his side through every storm or patch of rough water.”    After 59 years of marriage, Art and Louise still feel (and act) like newlyweds. The joy that they feel when they’re among family and friends on a Whaler is paralleled only by the immense appreciation their children have for the life their parents gave them. “We owe it all to my parents,” says Missy. “They are amazing people.”

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “My parents are amazing people,” but when it comes from the children of Art and Louise Yergey, you get a sense that there is more to it than obligatory appreciation. For more than a half-century, Art and Louise have devoted themselves to a life of boating and family, instilling in their children and grandchildren a deep and abiding love for being out on the water.

Art and Louise were married in 1954, a mere three weeks after they met. “I knew I would marry Louise as soon as I saw her, and I told her so on our first blind date,” Art says. Louise grew up in Columbus, Georgia, and anyone who knows her will tell you she’s a true Georgia Peach. Art was raised in central Florida, not far from their home in Winter Park. Boating has been a part of the Yergeys' lives since their early days as a couple. “It’s such a huge part of their marriage. It’s who they are,” says their daughter, Missy. Art and Louise have enjoyed a number of boats throughout the years, but they've always had a particular fondness for Boston Whalers. Art says, “A Boston Whaler is a true turnkey operation. Every inch of space is utilized. Every nook and cranny has a purpose.”

“We've always had Boston Whalers,” says their son, Palmer. “Dad used a Whaler when he taught us how to drive because he said a Whaler is the safest boat. And he’s right – you never feel safer than when you’re on a Boston Whaler.” 

Art and Louise enjoy spending time aboard their 345 Conquest, 190 Outrage and 130 Sport in both Winter Park and the Bahamas. “In 44 years, we haven’t missed a summer in the Bahamas, and they have all been great,” says Art. The Yergeys have had a Whaler in tow on every journey to south, as their children recall. “My brother David and I used to take out the Whaler and catch our food for the day,” Palmer says. “There was always something to catch, and we’d bring it back for Mom to cook. She didn't mind, as long as the fish was cleaned before we brought it on the bigger boat. That was her one rule,” he says. “Mom was always a trooper,” says David. “She could whip up an amazing meal right in the galley on the boat. She always made sure everyone was well fed.”

Missy, a professional diver at Walt Disney World, remembers finding a love for diving in the Bahamas. “Mom and Dad are the reason I got into scuba diving,” she says. “We would take the Whaler out and go snorkeling and diving for hours. They taught me everything.”

After years of renting places in the Bahamas, Art and Louise finally purchased a home in the Abaco islands four years ago, equipped with a guesthouse that they call “The Snoring Shack.” They enjoy entertaining family and guests, and taking one of their boats out for some light island hopping or a longer overnight trip. “At their age, you wouldn't think they would be as eager to get out on the boats, but they’re still at it,” Palmer says. “They’re a great team,” David says. “My dad couldn't have asked for a better first mate than my mom. She’s always right by his side through every storm or patch of rough water.” 


After 59 years of marriage, Art and Louise still feel (and act) like newlyweds. The joy that they feel when they’re among family and friends on a Whaler is paralleled only by the immense appreciation their children have for the life their parents gave them. “We owe it all to my parents,” says Missy. “They are amazing people.”