Taking Care of Those Who Took Care of us.
John Laurenza, Jr. makes custom fishing lures under the name of Lure Concepts of Vero.
As fired-up as he is about making lures, Laurenza is at least as passionate about giving back to our soldiers.
“John donates a care package with several of his custom baits to a veteran each month,” said Will Mansfield, an army veteran and kayak-crazy bass angler. “I was fortunate to receive it for May!”
Mansfield noted, “He donates hundreds of baits a year to the Reel American Heroes Foundation bass tournament each year in Virginia. This dude is a patriot. Very selfless guy.”
Laurenza makes spinnerbaits and buzzbaits for the bass fishing market. “I wire wrap my skirts so they don’t come undone like they would if I used a standard collar,” says Laurenza.
In spite of the quality craftsmanship, Laurenza found the fishing lure market a tough nut to crack. “I didn’t take the hand-crafted lure market by storm like I thought I would. But a man named Ron Defreitas contacted me on Facebook and asked if I would donate a couple dozen lures to the Reel American Heroes Foundation which helps veterans with recreational therapy through fishing. I agreed to do that. Now I am a team member. I set up my tent at the tournament every year and, the money I make selling lures, I put back into making lures to give away to veterans.
“I also send out my baits, randomly, to men and women who have served this country. I may meet someone along the bank or at a ramp and give them some of my personal lures just to say ‘thank you’ for their service.
“I was taught by a friend in 2009 how to mold hand-crafted spinnerbaits – Don Ludwig – he was my service manager when I worked at Firestone. He lives in Pittsburg, but we still talk about fishing all the time,” said Laurenza who now lives in Vero Beach, Florida.
Laurenza will donate 300 lures to the 8thannual RAHF fishing tournament this August 4that Hope Springs Marina in Virginia. “Every veteran that takes part in our event will get a brand-new rod and reel from Lew’s. They’ll also get a tackle box full of lures. My friend Will Mansfield will be coming up. He’s already registered to participate in the event.
“Last July we put 117 heroes on the water. This year we want to beat that. We have a lot of celebrity anglers at the tournament – Shaw Grigsby, Timmy Horton, John Crews & Steve Parks from Strike King.”
To buy some lures and support Laurenza’s efforts, find him on Facebook under his name or under Lure Concepts of Vero. You can also call him at 724-664-2761.
To learn more about RAHF – a 501c3 non-profit, 100% volunteer-run organization, check out ReelAmericanHeroes.org.