Words can't express the feeling that went through my mind the day I spent with my daughter fishing on the Kenai River. She was one of the lucky students who was drawn by a raffle ticket from Mountain View Elementary to attend a free fishing trip with one of the many local fishing guides. These fishing guides gave up a day of their time, furnished their boats, gas, fishing tackle, transportation and, moreover, their friendship and hearts by taking a child fishing.
The morning started off by all the children, chaperones and fishing guides meeting at Soldotna Middle School for a free breakfast furnished by Dena and Scott Cunningham, owners of McDonald's. Then, the children and their chaperones were assigned a fishing guide. There were three students, one chaperone and one fishing guide per boat. This kind of reminded me of watching a Western movie where the wagon trains were getting ready to start out on a cross-country trip. We arrived at the Kenai River about 8:30 a.m. and started fishing around 9 a.m. My daughter and I and two other girls went fishing that morning with Joe Hager of Smokin' Joe's Guide Services. Joe is a really super neat guy and one who can tell one story right after another and never tell you the same story twice.
After about five hours running up and down the river and listening to Smokin' Joe stories and trying every angle in the book to catch a king salmon, we finally left the river and went to Harry Gaines of Kenai River Fishing Services where Reuben Hanke put on a free barbecue for all the kids and fed well over 200 people that day. Thanks, Reuben, for all your hard work and support you gave to the kids and grown-ups.
Representatives from Ducks Unlimited also were at the barbecue giving all the kids free gifts by drawing their names from raffle tickets. Ducks Unlimited gave every child there a free gift duck calls, T-shirts, caps, fishing poles and reels and much more. Thanks, Ducks Unlimited, for all the gifts and the hard work and support you gave the kids.
I will never forget this wonderful day, and again, me and my daughter would personally like to thank all the wonderful people who worked so hard to make this special day and event happen for the kids here on the Kenai Peninsula. Thank all of you. namely:
Co-chairs of Take a Kid Fishing Day on May 18, Tylan Van Lier and Ray Debardlaben; Dena and Scott Cunningham of McDonald's; and all the fishing guides Reuben Hanke of Harry Gaines Kenai River Fishing Service, Joe Hager of Smokin' Joe's Guide Services, Jimmy Irwin, Skip Dove, Dan France, John Iverson, Keith Holtan, Mike Fenton, Gary Chamberlin, Joe Hardy, Steve McClure, Rondi McClure, Kyle Hall, Dan Myers, Allen Norker, Ryan Howlett, Jeff Moore, Terry Brazel, Gary Hall, Joe Connors, Joe Hanes, Greg Brush, Jim McCormick, Luke Hanson, Eric Hartman, Bill Deailla, Alex Douthit, Tony Gillham, Monty Roberts, Doug Morris, Lisa Hansen, Bill White, Dave Goggia, Lee Young and two guides from Bo Ansel's Guide Service.
I hope this special event will continue on for years to come. God bless all of you.
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