Some Miami Marlins traded balls and gloves for rods and reels Monday morning.
Local Marlins players and staff joined war veterans on a celebrity fishing trip to kick-off their community service week.
“Look at the day,” said Sgt. Robert Butler, an Iraq war veteran. “It was supposed to be rainy and cold and evidently a higher power decided to give a good day to the veterans.”
Butler and fellow veterans couldn't wait to ride the waves into the Gulf Stream.
He spent two-and-a-half years in northern Iraq as an army sharpshooter.
“I don’t think anyone’s left the war that doesn’t have something that bothers them inside,” said Butler.
On his chest, he bears the tattooed names of 15 fellow patriots from his company, some of who died in his arms. He carries their memories with him.
“None of us leave without being wounded,” he said.
Butler couldn't wait to kick back and get fishing with players that included John Buck, Gaby Sanchez, Mike Dunn, and Mike Stanton.
“We appreciate what they're doing,” Buck said of the veterans. “Hopefully they have just a few hours of fun.”
The fishing trip was the kick-off event for naming Shake-A-Leg Miami the Marlins’ 2012 charity of choice.
The veterans are members of the Veteran’s Reintegration Program sponsored by the American Red Cross.