Veteran families spend free day on Shasta Lake

Warriors on the Lake

REDDING, Calif. - A disabled veteran and his wife have teamed up to take veterans and their families on free outdoor adventures.

It's called the Fregoso Outdoor Foundation.

Max Fregoso, a Red Bluff High School graduate, started the foundation five years ago with his wife Kelly. The couple owns a commercial construction company in Sacramento.

The pair spends a considerable amount of time and expense to take veterans and their families to places like Shasta Lake for wakeboarding, but there is also: bass fishing tournaments, hunting trips, snowboarding trips and more.

Fregoso said it's more than just giving families a good time.

"It started off as a way to give back, but then it grew into, 'OK we've got these guys' attention, what are their needs?'" Fregoso said. "We found their needs are financial. I'm just trying to figure out how to do my budget."

Veterans, and their families, said they appreciated it. We spoke to one family participating in the program.

"It means more to me that my family is able to get away," said disabled veteran Terry Brown. "It means a lot that I could come here, but it means more to see my family enjoying themselves."

Brown's wife felt the same way.

"Houseboats are pretty expensive so it's nice for him to be able to let go," Doreen Wilkes said. "He's home with the kids a lot, while I go to school and work. It's nice for him to be able to do that."

Fregoso said the family's involvement is just as important as the veteran.

"They were the ones that are staying behind," Fregoso said. "Wondering if dad's coming home, is my husband going to make it home, and in what shape is he coming home?"

Veterans and their families fly in from around the country to participate in the free fun.

Local businesses and marinas also make contributions to the foundation.

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