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LHarris

Sour

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LHarris

Sour

Written by: Len Harris

Photos by: Len Harris

One of my buddies from my old job contacted me. Eric (old buddy) told me that he belonged to a

midwest hunting website. One of the son's of a member was being shipped out to Iraq. The website was

having a going away party for Aaron Sour. He wanted me to come. I had something planned so I didn't go.

Eric emailed me and said the party was a great send off to a real American Hero. I felt for Aaron because I

was in the Army for 7 years and almost ended up in Iran when the embassy was taken over in 1970s.

I saw some of the photos of his send off on the hunting website. Aaron in his uniform was quite impressive.

My days in the service came back to me. I remember the feelings I had of Pride In Country. I smiled at the

photos and decided I was happy I wasn't the one going to Iraq.

Couple years went by. Eric recontacted me. He said that Aaron had gone to Iraq and was injured. The

hunting website was having a benefit for him. Eric wanted to know if I would donate a trip to a fallen veteran.

I have donated numerous Trout Fishing Trips to trout Unlimited Chapters and a few Cancer Drives. It was a NO BRAINER.

Eric said it would be raffled off and the proceeds would be given to Aaron for unpaid medical expenses I

didn't even ask what Aaron's injuries were. I said YES immediately.

Eric told me he would contact me and tell me who had won the Fishing Trip with me at the raffle..The raffle was held late September.

I received notice from Eric in October that the raffle was a HUGE success and my trip was raffled off for 3,000 dollars. A local

VFW post in Iowa was the winner of the raffle. The 3,000 dollars was given to Aaron's dad who was guardian nowadays. Aaron was

unable to make his own decisions because of the severe injuries he sustained in Iraq. The VFW commander said that after the raffle

the entire VFW membership had voted and they voted to give the trip to the Fallen Veteran and his dad. (Phil)

Phil called me right away. He wanted to go trout fishing with Aaron immediately. I told Phil that Wisconsin's season had closed

September 30th. I could tell from Phil's voice he was quite disappointed. We talked throughout the winter. Phil was as excited as

Aaron to go trout fishing. A couple times during the phone calls from Phil I asked questions about Aaron. Phil was very vague.

I asked Phil to talk to his son (Aaron). Phil always had a reason for me NOT talking to his son. Aaron had one infection or another

or was going to therapy or just wasn't up for talking.

I sent Phil and Aaron many photos through the winter of previous trout fishing outings. Phil always told me he passed on

the stories and photos to Aaron. I never did get to talk to Aaron in person. We must have shared 40 emails and 20 phone

conversations through the winter.

As the date grew closer I needed to know what Aaron's physical limitations were. I need to plan a good outing for Aaron and his dad.

Both anglers were worm anglers and had fished Iowa exclusively. They had never fished Wisconsin before. I finally got Phil to tell me

a little about the injuries. Phil was vague and told me that Aaron was in Iraq on the battlefield and his company was attacked in the

middle of the night. Phil said "Aaron was injured very badly." I tried to get more out of him but Phil was kinda selective with his information.

I was to meet Phil in Aaron at the park in my hometown. Phil said they were accomplished campers and he and Aaron had camped many times in the past.

It was raining buckets the day before and I called Phil and tried to re-schedule. I wanted Aaron to have a quality outing. Phil said absolutely NOT. We

were fishing no matter what. He said he didn't care if they caught anything. The father and son NEEDED this outing and they had talked about it

all winter. I said ok I would meet them at first light.

I rolled up on the park and it was still raining buckets. Phil told me they would camp on the far north side of the campgrounds near the river. I found the site right away.

The Iowa license plate was a good indicator and there were NO other campers in the park. I had checked some of the streams on the way to see their clarity.

They were iffy. Phil met me at my truck. He had huge smile and said come meet Aaron. I went in to the tent and met Aaron........ He was sitting in the dark tent

and nodded his head a lot. The rain was still coming down hard. He didn't talk much. Phil did most of the talking. I learned that both of the trout anglers were kinda

new trout fishing and they had fished for bass/carp/bullheads/panfish in Iowa and were QUITE good at it. This was the way Phil described it. I told them that because of their

Iowa plates it would be better if they rode with me. Lots of locals didn't like outta state anglers. Phil said ok.....

I had Both of the anglers change into their gear at the campgrounds. I decided that changing in a dry tent would be better than changing in a down pour.

I had dressed in my waders and gear at home. Both anglers put on hip boots and rain coats Dad tore down the campsite and we pilled in to my truck with all OUR gear..

It was still dark out and we drove to the

stream.........

We parked near the stream. It was not light enough to fish. I thought I should get some more information from the dad and son on their fishing limitations.

Dad said: " Aaron and I fished 5 days a week before he went the to the gulf." Aaron and he were skilled anglers before his accident. Dad told me since the

accident Aaron's balance was poor and his endurance wasn't there anymore. Dad also told me that Aaron's confidence was lacking since his injury and

it was really important to HIM that his son had a good time.

Finally the rain stopped and the sun came out. We fished for 2 hours. Aaron caught 10 trout and his dad caught 2.

Aaron's Proud Father Phil

b2e22122.jpg

Aaron tired out quickly and dad said it was time to go home. We walked back to my truck. Aaron had been quiet most of the outing.

Aaron spoke up on the way back to Dad's truck. He told me he had a wonderful time and hoped we could do it again. I could see his

Dad in the backseat of my truck in my rear view mirror. Dad had such a HUGE smile I thought his face might break. I sent both of them on their

way and thought that this was one of my favorite trips.

...........

...........

Aaron's company was attacked at night. The company had dug foxholes near the Tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers. The armored

vehicles would give them added protection from enemy attacks. Aaron was in his foxhole defending his position and one of HIS company's tanks decided to change

locations for tactical reasons. The tank ran over Aaron's foxhole and crushed Aaron's skull while doing so.

Aaron had nothing bad to say about the military during our fishing trip. He was NOT angry about what happened.

Aaron Sour a true American Hero.

Aaron and his BIGGEST brookie ever

aae50c78.jpg

.......

.......

.......

PS: I have had this story sitting in my DRAFT files for almost five years. I have been waiting

for the correct time to publish this story. The correct time is now. I am finally done with guiding

and this story can be seen for its beauty and not be seen as some type of self-promotion.

Aaron and Phil are doing well and fishing quite often.

fd59da84.jpg

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reddog

Incredible subject and story Len.

Thank you for putting it into words, but most of all:

Thank you and Aaron for your service to the country.

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jwmiller33

that is an awesome story! thank you aaron and every one of our other troops that has fought for our freedom

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