The North Haven resident and local builder has teamed up with Doug Herman to organize the inaugural Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Fishing Tournament to benefit Building Homes for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project this Saturday in Sag Harbor. Haerter, a Sag Harbor native and Marine, was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber in April 2008, saving the lives of countless soldiers and Iraqi police officers.
When did you decide to organize a fishing tournament in Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter’s memory?
Without being pinned down to a date, it was probably back in June. A bunch of us guys were sitting around having beers when Doug Herman, and he really deserves the credit, said why don’t we have a fishing tournament in Jordan’s memory. It was something we thought the whole family could get involved in, especially since we have not had a fishing tournament in Sag Harbor in so long. It seemed like a lighter way, than a 21-gun salute, to honor Jordan; not that we don’t want to remember the fact that he is a fallen Marine, but we did think we could celebrate his memory in a lighter way, traditional to Sag Harbor.
What has been your relationship with Jordan and his family? Are they excited for the event?
I have been friends with Chris, Jordan’s father, I am going to say about 12 years, give or take a year. Chris is a true Sag Harbor local, meaning I am pretty sure he was born here. I have lived here for 14 years and Chris and Jordan were obviously involved in our lives, at parties, out on the boat, and with my son for a good part of that time. I know both JoAnn [Lyles, Jordan’s mother] and Chris are over the top about the event. We had a booth at HarborFest to promote the tournament and Chris had a tent next to us for the charitable organization he has founded in Jordan’s memory, Jordan’s Initiative, which provides for deployed troops and their families. They have been really great about getting the word out about the event.
The tournament and after party will benefit Building Homes for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project. Were you familiar with these organizations prior to putting this tournament together?
Well, I don’t think anyone could not be familiar with the Wounded Warrior Project. You would have to live in a cave out here to not have heard of them. It was Doug Herman who suggested Building Homes for Heroes because his cousin has been very active with that organization.
What kind of anglers would you like to see show up on Saturday? Do you expect this to be a family friendly event?
We want so much for this to be a family event, which is why in addition to the striped bass and fishing tournament we will have an event under the tent on Long Wharf starting at 11 a.m. We are hoping that with everyone who is fishing, their wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends and children will come to the event, participate in the auctions and raffles and have a bite to eat. Peter Ambrose with The Sea Food Shop is paying for the tent which means the money we would have used for that will benefit Wounded Warrior and Building Homes for Heroes. This is all building for the future. If we only get 50 people, we are hoping for 200 next year. Hopefully we will have 200 this year.
The fishing itself will be a mixed bag – fathers and sons, brothers and brothers, friends, kids on boats. We are hosting a snapper derby for kids under ten at Long Wharf with free ice cream and one kid will get a trophy. We will also have a filet station, so if you want your fish filleted you can do that and anything people don’t want to keep we will donate to the Sag Harbor Food Pantry.
Sag Harbor has been without its own fishing tournament in recent years. Do you envision this tournament becoming an annual event?
Yes. That is the whole thing. We want it to grow. In the short amount of time we have been organizing this we have had so much support. Wouldn’t it be nice if three years from now we had 50, 60 boats out there and hundreds of people coming to Sag Harbor the weekend after HarborFest because the tournament has become as memorable as HarborFest? It is a win-win situation if we can keep this going.
The Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Fishing Tournament to benefit Building Homes for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project will be held this Saturday, September 19. Fishing is from Shinnecock Inlet to Montauk Point with no fishing allowed prior to 4 a.m. The weigh in party begins at 11 a.m. on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. Cash prizes will be awarded in the adult and juniors division for the heaviest striped bass and bluefish, and food, auctions and raffles will also be held under the tent on Long Wharf. For more information or to register, contact Rich Flood at 774-7682.