It’s a simple question; what is Military Appreciation Day?
The answer is not as simple.
Here’s the short version:
A MAD event is a day on which volunteers take active duty troops out for a full day of inshore and/or offshore fishing. For the troops, the entire day and all activities and services are free. At the end of the day the troops, their families and boat volunteers are treated to a huge southern-style cookout – which is also free.
And the long version:
Military Appreciation Day, Inc is a 501(c)3 organization consisting of a board of directors and several committee chairs who coordinate the events that are carried out by legions of volunteers.
It is important to point out that neither the board of directors, committee chairs or any volunteers receive any compensation, salary or stipend. We all labor for love of country and respect for those who defend it.
There are several “Chapters” of MAD volunteers that oversee and organize MAD events in various locations.
The original MAD Chapter is referred to as Morehead City. Though the first two MAD events in 2006 and 2007 took place at Fort Macon, NC; subsequent events have been in various locations and are coordinated by chapter committees.
Currently (February 2021), there are four MAD Chapters.
MAD Morehead City (North Carolina)
MAD Southport (North Carolina)
MAD Tidewater (Virginia)
MAD Charleston (South Carolina)
The following event narration is a description of a typical event at Morehead City. Although all chapter events are similar to varying degree, they are all modeled after the Morehead City event.
Day one, the day before an event hundreds of volunteer boat captains attend an orientation meeting where the next day’s event schedule is explained.
Boat Captains Meeting
After the boater’s meeting adjourns they join the volunteers of other event committees for a cookout meal, prepared and served onsite by other volunteers.
After that, more volunteers begin preparations for the next day, the real event … when the troops show up.
On the morning of the event, troops arrive in the
wee hours, gathering at the various docks to
register and meet their host captains.
Some troops board head boats chartered by MAD,
eighty to a hundred each.
The majority are hosted by smaller private boats
owned by volunteers.
|While hundreds of MAD boats motor out through the waterways to open sea with their military guests, hundreds more volunteers are busy in other areas.Some are setting up tents, canopies, tables and chairs. Some are erecting playgrounds for the children of the fishing troops.|
|Dozens of volunteers have brought and setup their
own cookers and outdoor kitchens and begin
preparing food for lunch and dinner that was
donated by many different individuals
|Some are setting up tents, canopies, tables and chairs. Some are erecting playgrounds for the children of the fishing troops. Dozens of volunteers have brought and setup their own cookers and outdoor kitchens and begin preparing food for lunch and dinner that was donated by many different individuals and corporations.|
|The cookers are loaded with pigs donated
by Murphy Brown Inc. Some cooks are firing
up to cook donated hamburgers and hot dogs
while others are cutting and preparing
chicken donated by House of Raeford.
|More volunteers are unloading thousands of donated beverages from semi delivery trucks, trailers and pickups, stacking and putting them on donated ice.|
|Meanwhile, volunteers are shuttling the families
of the fishing troops back and forth from the docks
where the kids can fish while volunteers bait their
hooks and show them how to snag the big one;
to the park where they have lunch and play in the
and free boat rides to Carrot Island.
Throughout the day, bands are playing one after
While they’re having bar-b-que, chicken, burgers,
|But even after the meal is done and our honored guests have gone, volunteers are working into the night cleaning up, packing up and loading up; breaking down the tents and canopies, washing their boats and folding the flag.
Did we mention that it’s free?
We like to drive that point home. For Active Duty Military, Guard, Reservists and their families everything offered is free of charge. No fees are collected for anything. Nothing has a price tag. Nothing is for sale. It’s free. F-R-E-E free.
As a matter of fact, we prefer you leave your wallets at home … all you’re going to need at a MAD event is your ID.
This is our day, given to ourselves, to serve those who serve our country. Be our honored guest, grant us the favor and satisfaction of Thanking You for What You Do for America!
By the way, the photos and videos used on this website are provided by volunteer photographers. This website is hosted for free as a donation, built and maintained by volunteers.