Marine Veteran helping other Veterans cope with PTSD through deep sea fishing



Marine Corps Veteran Brian Barber Sr. knows firsthand how difficult life can be once you take off the uniform and leave the battlefield behind you – he’s been living it for more than 10 years.

“Seeing Veterans like myself, wounded and broken from battle affects your day-to-day living in ways that you can’t imagine,” said Barber, who served from 1995 to 2005 as a radio operator and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the National Center for PTSD, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the longest combat operations since Vietnam. Many stressors face these Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) troops.

As an OEF/OIF Veteran himself, Barber wanted to do more for Veterans dealing with PTSD.

“I felt like I needed to do more for my fellow Veterans. Fishing and serving Veterans. I love the therapeutic aspect,” said Barber, who decided to combine his passion for deep-sea fishing along with his admiration for his fellow Veterans by offering free fishing trips to his fellow Veterans.

After discussing the idea with a couple of his Veteran buddies, he started Barber’s Anglers Anonymous Ventura Coast, a nonprofit group on Arroyo Grande in California.  The group’s focus is on helping disabled Veterans and Veterans who are coping with PTSD.

A group of 15 Veterans was treated to a free fishing charter on the open sea near Anacapa Island a few months ago. The trip was the first for the nonprofit operation and included equipment and meals.

“The idea of taking my fellow Veterans, Servicemen and women who suffer from PTSD fishing and helping them feel peace for any length of time, is not only therapeutic and rewarding for them, but for myself as well,” he said.

Barber has scheduled his next trip for May with more Veterans. “When you say the word ‘Veteran,’ people take it personal. I want it to be personal,” he said.

Author

Dwayne Wingfield

Comments

  1. Carol Ibach late husband Lt Col.Max Ibach    

    Need info on how organized. I donated a 17 ft bass boat, trailer, rods and hauling vehicle to local veteran’s group in 2015. My late Air Force veteran (fighter pilot Vietnam nam) husband, had PTSD and this activity helped him heal. Concerns are how to organize trips, care of equipment, who does trips (capable of running boat etc.) this fishing is done on mountain reservoirs for trout & salmon. (Montrose Colorado )

      1. geno p. berardi    

        I never fished in my life. i grew up where there was no hunting or fishing. i do not knew anyone where i live and do not have any friends and no family any family. It is real hard living alone and dwell in the past.

  2. Rickey spann    

    I would like to go fishing

    1. Brian Barber Sr.    

      Hey Ricky, where are you located?

  3. Rickey spann    

    Im a ptsd vet and it been hard being away from the army

  4. Annique    

    i need to know why we have not gotten a letter stating our VA benefits and what percentage every where i look i cannot find a place to complain the worker assigned to us is worthless she never returns a cal and the supervisor at Portland Or VA never returned my call either what is up with these people we need that paper to show our prof of income for housing please someone advice me

    1. John Powell    

      Log on to your e-benefits at http://www.ebenefits.va.gov . You can see what VA benefits, Payment history and what percentage you have. The V.A. will rarely return calls. If the e-benefits web site doesn’t have what you need contact your D.A.V. rep. or the D.A.V..The D.A.V. rep works like a middle man between you and the V.A.

      Hope this help’s

  5. thomas gomez sr    

    FISHING IS GOOD. I GO TO A DOCK OR CHARTER FISHING BOAT OR OFF THE BEACH WITH A 12 FT CASTING ROD WHEN I CAN. THIS IS SOMETHING WE CAN ALSO DO ALONE. BRING A COOLER WITH WATER SOME SANDWICHES. FOLDING CHAIRS. AND IF YOU HAVE A WIFE BRING HER TO. MY WIFE ENJOYS IT. THE SEA AIR HITTING YOU IN THE FACE. THE SMELL OF THE OCEAN . THE WIND IN YOUR FACE. IT HELPS MAKES ME FORGET. THIS IS A GREAT IDEA. AND THANK YOU TO THE KIND PEOPLE THAT ARE DOING THIS FOR VETERANS. THANK YOU….

    1. Brian Barber Sr.    

      Thats is exactly correct, having the line in the water releives so much stress fro me…..especially when you have family and friends joining you….such an Awesoem time to be had by all….please visit our website. http://www.anglersanonymousvc.weebly.com/

  6. David siegel    

    I’m in central California, Iraq marine with ptsd and would be interested if i.can find out how

    1. Brian Barber Sr.    

      Please visit my website andi can get you in contact with our Central Coast Chapter.
      http://www.anglersanonymousvc.weebly.com/.

  7. Josh Davila    

    It’s almost serendipitous to come across this article. Recently I have been thinking of things and trying to make a list of activities I thought would help my own healing process, and deep sea fishing was near the top of the list. I’m glad to see someone put this idea into action. I’m from San Diego, where deep sea fishing is fairly popular. Is there any thought of adding additional chapters to the organization? California is home to a large number of veterans, I can see this being applicable in many geographic areas on the west coast.

    1. Brian Barber Sr.    

      Hey Josh, email me when you get a chance bjbsraavc@yahoo.com we can discuss th r possibilities of starting a Chapter down south.

  8. DannyG    

    Hey Rickey, you may have discharged, but the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, or Coast Guard – they never leave you! Besides, now you have all this extended family! Welcome home, young Brother.

  9. Brian Barber Sr.    

    Brian Barber Sr here……its great to see the support for Anglers Anonymous Ventura Coast…..please continue to spready to word and donate what you can so we can continue to take out American Heros fishing at no cost to them…..Thank you, God Bless and Semper Fi!

  10. Steve J DeSanto    

    Fishing is good therapy for almost everything that creates stress in your life not just Veterans dealing with PTSD. You are a great American not only for your service to our country, but for thinking enough of our fellow Veterans to take the time money and effort to HELP us. The comraderie among Veterans is treasured only by those who have been there-done that because we understand each other in ways that the non-vets will never understand. I am a Vietnam Veteran it makes me so happy to see and hear about things like you are doing to help the Vets trying to transition from hell to happiness. Thank you for your consideration and support.

    1. Brian Barber Sr.    

      Steve,

      This is one of the main reasons I started this. The Brotherhood and Sisterhood is so phenomenal amongst each other, and I came to find out that the Fishing community is the same way. Being able to combine these 2 passions of mine puts me At Ease.

      Thanks for your Service and support, it’s greatly appreciated.

      Semper Fi,
      Brian Barber Sr.
      Sgt. Marine Corp Retired (Med)

  11. Steve Gosnell    

    Mr. Barber!!!!!What a wonderful idea….I am Viet Nam vet with PTSD and I love fishing—-is there any chapters on the west coast of Florida —- Cape Coral area????

  12. steve gosnell    

    Brian—–What a wonderful idea…I am a Viet Nam with PTSD and am wondering if there is a chapter on the west coast of Florida—-Cape Coral area
    Steve

    1. Brian Barber Sr.    

      Thanks for the support Steve, and Thank you for your Service. As of right now, we don’t have any established chapters,besides the 1 in Arroyo Grande…however I have a couple Buddies that live in Florida that have boats and are willing to take Veterans out on my behalf. Please visit my website and email me your contact info.

  13. ron acosta    

    Brian like many of the replies that you have gotten on this article about ptsd and the therapy received from deep-sea fishing has been known by virtually anyone who has gone fishing I appauld your efforts and those of others like you. I am a Disabled Vietnam Vet who just happen to work on a long-range fishing boat out of San Diego California which also was my home port. I Have not fished in many years I recently move to Vancouver WA, And, I do not know the area well enough or others to go fishing with in this geographical location but maybe some who reads your article will want a fishing buddy even if I have ptsd. Good wishes for your program and may it be very successful. Thank You Ron

  14. augustus pisano    

    great therapy for ptsd I am 100% and I just bought a 27 ft seaway boat I will be going fishing a lot this year
    I have my boat down in san pedro dry storage if u r interested I would be glad to take u out, currently I have to
    fix my outdrive electrical switch the outdrive is not coming up when I use the switch…..

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