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Fishing For The Physically Challenged Population

 

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Fishing for the physically challenged population is a great way to bring enjoyment and a feeling of accomplishment to their lives not to mention giving them a feeling of being part of the community.

A little kindness and time on your part can bring much happiness in the life of a physically challenged person who either yearns to fish again or needs a vehicle to help them regain confidence in themselves while being part of the community.

 

Your help can make a positive difference in a person’s life that truly counts.   

 

I want to share a bittersweet personal story that brought happiness to a person who loved being on the lake again after being sidelined by a debilitating illness.

 

STORY: While working at Bass Pro Shop in Memphis as the supervisor of the Fishing Department, I met this guy named Val who was restricted to a wheel chair due to a stroke.

 

He was a people person and loved to fish. Back in his early days, Val fished with some of the Pros and knew them all very well.

 

He approached me one day and said that he knew of a fishing tournament for physically challenged individuals scheduled to place in Brownsville Tennessee and would I like to fish it with him.

 

I said sure I was up for that kind of thing and I had just gotten my new boat that had plenty of room. Val was so excited that he was going to get to fish again and in a tournament.

 

Val got with me a few days later. He had gone home and got all the paperwork and brought it to the store for me filling out the parts that I had to such as Insurance, safety, and mailed it off.

 

He would zip around the store telling everyone that he was going to be in this tournament that was coming up and he was so glad to be able to fish again.

 

Well, the Saturday morning came up and I was to pick Val up at 4am. When I rounded the corner, there he was with all his things out by the street. To tell you the truth, I think he spent the night out there.

 

We got his things loaded and we were off to Brownsville. It did not take that long to get there and when we did arrive, the lake was not open yet. With about 1 1/2 hours to wait, we went to have breakfast and met with some other guys that were going to fish. 

 

As I Looked around, it seemed to me that everyone had a glow about them and were talking about the old days full of stories about the fish they had caught in the past. Then it came to me that we take things for granted and do not see what joy we can bring to a few people who love our sport and have been struck down, but never give up.

 

After breakfast, we proceeded back to the lake that was now open with a lot folks there helping with the tournament. They helped get Val into my boat and secure him to the seat before proceeding to back my boat into the lake.

 

VAL was beside himself, I bet I changed his lure four times before the tournament ever started. The gun went off and we were on our way. This tournament was trolling motors only, and the fish were biting.

 

We had two fish in the boat in no time. Val kept saying one more…one more. The tournament only lasted until noon and then they had a weigh in just like Bassmasters.

 

Even though Val only caught two fish that day and did not win the tournament the looking at his face you would have thought he won the Bass Masters Classic.

 

When we returned, for weeks and months that is all Val talked about, his big fishing Tournament.

 

I am sorry to say about a year later Val was crossing the street in his wheel chair and a driver ran a red light and hit Val. He held on for a while, and then went to the Big Bass Lake in Heaven.

 

In Fact at his funeral, his brother was talking to everyone and started laughing and said that he bet Val was already on the lake catching them hogs as he spoke.

 

Turning Point Nation:

 

I also did some investigating and found an organization that I wanted to add to this article, Turning Point Nation 

While this fine organization is doing a lot of great work in many states, I want every physically challenged person who loves fishing and the outdoors to check with your state and local organizations to find out what is available to help you get out there enjoying yourself. Another website to check out where fishing and outdoor activities are discussed and trips planned is http://www.disaboom.com/.

If you are one of the persons helping the physically challenged population to find their footing and confidence in life, please consider introducing them to the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities through programs in your state to ignite their passion for living again.

 

Turning Point was founded in 1979 by Michael "Shorty" Powers. Shorty had an injury when he was 17 years old that left him without the use of his legs. He was another person that loved the outdoors. When he went looking to see what might be available for him to continue participating in fishing and outdoor activities, there were none so Shorty formed his own "Turning Point".

 

Today, Turning Point Nation has 10 active chapters helping the physically challenged population with a chapter opening soon in *Detroit, Michigan.

 

 

Alabama

East Texas

 National

Carolina

 Gulf Coast

 North Texas

Central Texas

 Indian Nation

 Tahoe

*Detroit

Great Lakes

 West Texas



 

My hat is off to Shorty for helping so many people face a major turning point in their lives.

 

If you would like more information about the non profit organization, Turning Point Nation, the website is http://www.turningpointnation.org  or use the links above to contact the chapters directly. The national office physical address is 403 Pacific Ave., Terrell, Texas 75160. The telephone number is 972-524-4231.

 

The next time you go fishing; think about these folks that sleep, eat, and dream of maybe getting back out on the lake one more time.

 

I would like to dedicate this article to Val and the many other physically challenged fishing folks out there and to tell you there is hope. There are guys including myself and women out there that would love to take you fishing...Just ask.

 

Keep the Hooks Wet!

 

Steve McGoldrick

 

 

 


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