Elks Lodge takes Army vets fishing

Veterans and Elks Lodge members pose for a photo before a fishing outing sponsored by the Elks Lodge. Pictured from left are: Juvenciano Soto, Mike Moffitt, Roscoe Archer, Alex Kelly and Dale Vilander. (Kevin Gullufsen | Juneau Empire)

Two long-serving Army veterans based out of Fairbanks travelled to Juneau this week on an Elks Lodge 420 sponsored fishing trip.

 

After 22 and 24 respective years in the military, Roscoe Archer and Juvenciano Soto are both less than a year away from retirement. Archer has served four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; Soto, five tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia.

The Elks Lodge wanted to show the vets Southeast. After registering recently for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Soto got a call from the Fairbanks chapter of the order, he explained during a Saturday-morning interview at Don D. Statter Harbor. He said it made him feel appreciated to have a group reach out like that.

“They called me up and said, ‘Do you want to go on a fishing trip?’ I said, ‘Yeah!’” Soto said. Local Mike Moffitt, also a veteran of the U.S. Army, had just joined the Elks Lodge and wanted to do something to help out.

So Moffitt offered up his boat, an aluminum vessel called the “Going Seanile,” to take Archer and Soto out fishing for two days this weekend. The Elks lodge provided airfare for Archer and Soto, and organizers for the trip pieced together food from the American Legion Post 25, lodging from the Travelodge and a van from Avis Rent a Car.

Archer and Soto’s supervisors at Fort Wainwright have been helping them transition back into civilian life by giving them long shifts they work once or twice a week. That allows them to go out and pursue part time work or hobbies.

Soto works part time at an Auto Plus store in Fairbanks. He said he’ll likely continue working there after retirement. Archer has two plans: open a restaurant and travel.

Moffitt reported that the group had success on Saturday: they landed at least 12 coho, he said.

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