STANDISH, Maine — For veterans on the ice at Otter Pond in Standish, it's not just about catching fish. It's about learning how to heal.
"There's nothing like hard water therapy," said veteran Jim Martel.
More than 50 veterans and their families gathered on the pond Saturday. Game Warden Pete Herring started the event five years ago. He said the goal is to get veterans outside to let them experience the best Maine has to offer, while giving them a chance to share their stories.
"The suicide rate for vets goes up during the winter months. Maine has hard winters. The problem is they sit inside their house and look at the same four walls. They don't have an outlet or a hobby," said Herring.
On the ice, they do.
"Coming here, I'm very comfortable," said veteran Norm Pinneau.
Pinneau served in Vietnam and spent twenty years in the service.
"I was around vets my whole twenty years, I had support and a network around me. Once I came out, it was hard discussing anything with civilians," said Pinneau.
He found a new support network, for which he and many other veterans said they are grateful.
The event is free to veterans. The Maine Chef's Association provided food and drinks through its vendor.