The Big PictureBy Jackie Vogen - August 1, 2008
My husband had the opportunity to fish with Andy at the Annual Fishing Derby this year. Andy is 28 years old and has participated in this event for ten years. His favorite species is bluegill and he caught three nice ones that day. Andy loves to socialize and he's easy going. Now I ask you, who do you think had more fun at the derby? I'd have to say it's mutual according to the proud look on their faces; it's evident that they both did.
Last year at the Annual Fishing Derby I had the privilege to fish with Don. Don's needs are somewhat limited as he's confined to a wheelchair, but that didn't stop us from landing one bluegill after another. Although his mobility is impaired, by working a little closer with Don it was obvious that fishing is powerful therapy. Upon taking a bluegill off of the hook for Don, he enjoyed touching the bluegill. He thanked me for making it possible for him to fish that day. The kind words and smiles like Don's are what inspire and motivate me to return year after year.
Another special fisherwoman that I'd like to mention is Gini. I recently met Gini but I haven't had the opportunity to fish with her yet. Her parents are Lake Link members and their user names are, "Crazyhunter" and "Countryquilter". Gini has been fishing since she was four years old, and like her two sisters, she loves to fish. In fact, their family vacations always revolve around fishing. Gini likes to fish for panfish and has no desire to fish for other species. Crazyhunter and his family have spent many hours on their family pontoon, or more commonly known as the S.S. Minnow. If Gini gets tired of fishing, you'll find her sitting comfortably in the back seat of the boat relaxing and enjoying a good book. The family often takes day trips on the S.S. Minnow; however, many wonderful camping vacations have included their pontoon. Aside from fishing, Crazyhunter always makes sure that there are beaches nearby for the kids to enjoy. These wholesome activities and spending valuable family time together are what matter the most to Crazyhunter and Countryquilter. They both take pride in their children and their biggest investment has been in their children. Like many parents, they have done without over the years so they could afford to take family vacations. If you were to ask Crazyhunter if he'd rather buy a new vehicle or remodel their home, he'd tell you that the lifelong memories of the time spent together with the family at the lake are what matters the most to him.
Having a disability shouldn't be a barrier to being able to get out and enjoy the sport of fishing. A lady, whose daughter has special needs, once told me that she appreciates everything that my husband and I do. She said that many times it is a thankless job for the volunteers, but from the parental side of things, whenever someone is willing to take the time to get to spend time with someone less fortunate, it's a big deal to the parents. My response to that is, our involvement has always been about the big picture. Even if the participants are unable to thank you, the smiles on their faces have always conveyed that they're thankful. While watching the children and adults reel in their fish, I can see their eyes light up and their smiles; this is what it's all about. Making these memories happen for them inspire my husband and I to continue to make a difference in their lives. Perhaps you can open your heart and make a difference by volunteering in your community; the rewards are huge.
I love what I'm learning and I'm learning what I love to do. I LOVE TO FISH!