Veterans Fishing Derby...Let’s do it again!
BY JANICE EATON, NEOSHO NFH
and...this is only one side of the pond! Credit: USFWS
“It was such a beautiful day. These were veterans of all wars and they were socializing and talking about their experiences while they were fishing. It was everything we had dreamed of and more. So we decided, ‘Let’s do it again!’”—David Hendrix, Neosho National Fish Hatchery manager, speaking of the inaugural “Rainbows for Veterans” event.
We can never do enough, or offer gratitude sufficient, to recompense the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces. That is one of the reasons it is noteworthy anytime efforts are made to honor and show tribute to American veterans. All veterans, as well as active-duty military personnel and their families are invited to this free event.
The occasion is an opportunity for sponsors to unite and pay homage to the men and women of this community who have served our county so honorably. There are several community sponsors for the event. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery are hosts for this event. Neosho Wal-Mart is supplying fishing poles. Eagle Claw is providing bobbers, hooks and poles. The Missouri Department of Conservation will supply additional fishing poles and provide volunteers to assist anglers as needed. The Neosho Walgreens has donated 400 goodie bags for participants as well as the services of a pharmacist to conduct free blood pressure checks. The Sugar Creek Turkey Gobblers will be cooking lunch. A band will be coming from Fort Leonard Wood to entertain participants and honor veterans. “Without the community, we would not be here. This is a small token we can give back to the community and we are excited about it,” Hendrix said. “A lot of good people are coming together to make this happen.”
with Missouri Department of Conservation assists
a successful veteran with unhooking his catch
Approximately 300 veterans fished Saturday morning, March 9th, for the annual veterans’ fishing day. An additional 300 attendees and 100 volunteers participated in the event. Many thanks to all our volunteers and sponsors who worked hard and donated much to make this a special day for our beloved veterans. Without our “Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery” support group who sponsors all of our events, none of these wonderful outreach programs would be possible.
The following excerpt was received in a thank you card:
Dear Hatchery Staff, You all made us feel warm and welcome. It was such a pleasure to meet other veterans of all ages and hear their story. We share as veterans, our own personal war and although different we were the same in missing our real lives and loved ones. We know each man had his own loneliness. That’s over for us now, but to attend a function to thank us for what we missed while away from home makes us feel like it was worth it. You all are what we fought for and people like you and all involved make us say ‘we’d do it again’. We are all one!—Mike G., U.S. Army (Reprinted from Joplin Globe, authored by Robin Fjelstad, Columnist, Joplin Globe)