Anglers share joy of fishing with veterans
Author: SVdP Staff
Date: Tuesday, July 31 2012
|Breakfast under the trees, courtesy of Chef Rod Fosback and his crew.|
|The Steelheaders offered plenty of help to ensure safety on the water.|
|A Steelheader guide pulls away from shore as his passengers prepare for adventure.|
The all-volunteer Activities Committee meets monthly to plan meals, gatherings and outings that reinforce the importance of recreation to the healthy lifestyle promoted by Vet LIFT. Committee members enlist the help of local organizations, businesses and individuals in providing opportunities that are diverse and affordable.
In mid-July about 20 veterans and Vet LIFT staff took in the spectacular McKenzie River and fish therein during an annual trip sponsored by the Emerald Empire Chapter of the Association Northwest Steelheaders. Partners included Cabela’s, Mazama Sporting Goods, Bi-Mart, Childers Meats, and Lane County Parks.
The veterans and their Steelheader guides got an early start, fortified by a hearty breakfast prepared by the Chapter’s official chef, Rod Fosback, and his kitchen crew. Afterward a flotilla of about a dozen boats headed downstream from Deerhorn Landing, each with a seasoned angler and one or two Vet LIFT members or staff.
By the time they reached their takeout point at Hendricks Park in mid-afternoon, every participant had landed at least one fish. The anglers could clean their own or utilize the services of Mazama, whose representatives cleaned them at no charge.
The quest for kokanee was on the plates of a half dozen Vet LIFT members who attended Take A Soldier Fishing (TASF), held July 21 at Shelter Cove Resort and Marina on Odell Lake. In all, 25 veterans made the trip, and 30 volunteers showed up with boats, gear and expertise.
Primary organizers of the annual trip included Boyd and Merrialyce Blanchard who also hosted a spaghetti dinner for the overnight campers; resort owners Jim and Trula Kielblock who provided campsites, two boats, and a catered lunch; Warren Hayner; and John Rudkins, TASF representative for Eugene and a member of the Vet LIFT Advisory Board.
The fishing wrapped up at noon, followed by intense cleaning. Every veteran who wanted fish to go got it.
The event concluded with a gathering under the flag, and the “Star-Spangled Banner,” sung by Caitlin Clark whose dad is a veteran.
Fishing trips are just one venue for community members, businesses and organizations to reach out to veterans of all ages. For opportunities within St. Vincent de Paul contact Kathy Wilson, Volunteer Coordinator at 541-743-7147 or through the Contact Us form.