The 53 year old man who was found dead Thursday afternoon in Mauch Chunk Lake had plenty of ties to veterans and the Carbon County area.

Rick E. Bashore, who has a chiropractic office at 2374 Seipstown Road, Weisenberg, was found in about 10 to 12 foot deep water in the Summit Hill area of the lake.

Bashore was the man behind several special events in the TIMES NEWS area which promoted patriotism and support for veterans who had been wounded in Iraq.

In 2007 he began organizing weekends at Skirmish USA in Jim Thorpe to promote patriotism and awareness for the Marines and soldiers who were recovering from their injuries. The paintball tournaments were reported to be a highlight of the wounded warriors. The Army challenged the Marines on the playing field for a great afternoon of make believe combat.

Bashore organized the event from beginning to end with several of his friends. He left nothing to chance, organizing the travel arrangements, meals and entertainment.

Bashore was the sort of person who downplayed his role, but was the man who made things happen.

He had said the weekends were about awareness. He had said that he organized the events "to honor these young men and women who strived to do so much for their country."

He organized his projects through the Wounded Warrior Project, which was founded on the principal that veterans are our greatest citizens. The WWP seeks to assist those young men and women of the armed forces who were severely injured during conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations around the world. Many of them had traumatic amputations, gunshot wounds, burns and blast injuries. WWP supplied the buses and Bashore organized the sponsors.

Bashore also helped organize dinners to support the Injured Marine Semper Fi. Fund and Wounded Warrior Project, the two largest charities at military hospitals across the country whose mission is to provide assistance to the families of those who are catastrophically injured while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Also, he inspired a local woman to organize a project at Christmas that made Christmas brighter for America's wounded military recovering from their war injuries in hospitals around the country.

Sue Anthony of Lehighton spearheaded the project to send Christmas cards to soldiers and Marines who are in hospitals recovering from their injuries. Bashore had asked Anthony to get together 180 cards and by the end of the project, Anthony had collected 2,000 cards, far exceeding Bashore's request.

Anthony was shocked and heart broken over hearing that Bashore lost his life at such a young age.

"Rick was a great guy," said Anthony. "He really put the veterans first."

Summit Hill Chief of Police Joe Fittos said the investigation has been turned over to state police.

Fittos said the incident unfolded Thursday morning when two fishermen noticed a canoe with nobody in it. They towed the canoe to the shore and notified park authorities, who in turn informed the Fish & Boat Commission.

Mark Nalesnik of the Emergency Management Agency, said the canoe was upright, and was anchored with a rock about 30 yards off shore. A search was conducted consisting of the Summit Hill Fire Department, a dive team from the Lehighton Fire Department, the East Penn Township Search & Rescue Team, and a state police helicopter.

The Carbon County Emergency Management Agency also was dispatched to the scene, as were the Summit Hill Police Department, Carbon County Coroner Bruce Nalesnik, fire police, park rangers, and the Fish and Boat Commission.

Bashore's body was seen by the helicopter crew at about 5:30 p.m. in the water, said Fittos.

Mark Nalesnik said the crew in the helicopter spotted what they thought was the deceased individual in water about 10-12 feet deep and directed divers to that location.