For disabled vets, a fishing trip on Boston Harbor is 'heaven on earth'

QUINCY, Mass. — They came by the busload one by one all subtly decorated in the colors they fought for years ago.

In many ways, they are still fighting.

"For some, it's the only day of the year where they get out of the hospital," Michael Cheney explained.

They are war veterans -- 200 of them who are now disabled and staying at local veterans hospitals. Cheney organizes this annual event to get them out on the water for a fishing trip.

Albert Audette has been coming to this fishing event for 10 years.

"It's heaven on earth," he said. "This is probably my last one because of my age. It's difficult to get around.

Audette was a member of the Air Corps, which is now the Air Force. He told us about 30 bombing missions he flew over Germany in World War II.

Now, Audette stays at a nursing home in Woburn and looks forward to this event every year.

They all spent the day on boats, taking in the scenery in Quincy Bay and Boston Harbor and enjoying what so many take for granted.

Carl Awed, from Quincy, joined the Navy in 1943.

This was his first year to be at the event with little expectation on the fishing boat.

"I was hoping I could get a bite or a nibble," he said.

But with the fishing, the donations, the 150 volunteers, it's much more than just a day to fish.

"When they disembark from the boat, they have a big smile on their face," Cheney said. "Whether they caught a fish or not, it doesn't matter. They just have a big smile on their face. They're just glad to get out on the ocean for the day."

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