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TPWD News Release — June 25, 2007

Marina Owner Offers Iraq Vets Free Fishing on Lake Fork

ATHENS, Texas—Joe Axton spent nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and he’s heard stories of Vietnam veterans being treated poorly on their return home. Now the owner of Axton’s Bass City on Lake Fork, Axton is doing what he can to see the same thing does not happen to military service men and women returning from duty in Iraq.

Axton is offering free accommodations and meals for two days at his motel and marina on Lake Fork for military personnel returning from Iraq and their families. In addition, he will secure the services of a fishing guide for the service member. He will even arrange to pick the party up at DFW Airport and return them after their stay—all at no charge.

Lake Fork is generally regarded as the Mecca of bass fishing, and a guided trip on the lake typically costs $300 a day.

“I have several guides who have already committed to taking the soldiers fishing at no charge, and a number of anglers who fish the lake regularly have also volunteered their services,” Axton said. “Guides usually have openings throughout the year, and we will work with the soldiers and guides to book trips whenever they have dates available.

“A lot of people give lip service to supporting the troops, and I felt it was time to do something,” Axton added. “My family has always been very patriotic, and we are just carrying on the tradition. I think it will be good for the veterans, and doing it makes me feel good.”

Axton said he wants as many military personnel as possible to take advantage of his offer, which is limited only by the availability of rooms and guides. “The offer is good as long as they are over there getting shot at,” he said.

Axton can be contacted at (877) 525-4698 or