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Hunting and Fishing Days Follow-Up

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This entire weekend was spectacular as always, but this one was most satisfying for all, in my opinion.

I can't stress enough the power of the human spirit that was on display this year.

The weather was great, the fish were biting and the smiles were plenty.


There are so many people to thank, from Scott Ferguson bringing out some much-needed items at the very start, to those that closed it out....every component was crucial.


One story in particular I'm going to start with is that of Craig Holderness.

This man came out and spent 16 hours of his weekend working the casting field like nobody on this earth can. A man of very few words, but his actions are deafening.

Note, this isn't the first time Craig has given a weekend for these kids....I've lost count, it has been so many. It isn't the glory or the publicity that drives a man to give so hard for so long, ...and never say a word or ask for anything in return.

That's passion that comes from the heart, my friends.

Everyone here can learn a lot from this man simply by witnessing, myself included.


These are in no particular order after that one special mention.....just throwing the stories out there....


Rich McElligott continues in his typical workhorse fashion with this event by devoting his entire weekend once again.

People like this are few and far between. When you see them, shake their hand and thank them for their efforts. It means something to us and renews our energy.



What can I say about epitomizing the reason we are there than to explain this heart-warming story.

A grandmother in a wheelchair shows up at the bait station and asks me if anyone can show her grandson how to fish. I tell her "Absolutely, that's why we're here."

She pulls out her billfold and deposits cash into the event donation box.

I ask for an ISA volunteer, and Eugene jumps in and gets to work.....for hours.

That kid ended up catching bluegills and a really nice catfish and likely had the day of his life on that pond.

You are amazing, Eugene.

Thank you!


Debbie Compton, (ISA member and Cabelas employee) not only secured all of the bait for our fishing pond, she also came out both days and worked her tail off in the bait station.

A tireless effort from a remarkable woman that gives her time to so many outdoors related causes, as I came to learn from Cabelas manager Diane Schneider, who not only provided the bait for us, but worked extremely hard all day Sunday as well.


John Loebach's magnificent flies enabled us to hold a raffle in our booth, and they were a popular discussion by visitors.

Yet another frequent contributor to this event with his work ethic and tremendous input.


Ed Buric, your Chicagoland Regional Coordinator.

2 days again, giving his all for the ISA cause and the next generation of anglers.

Another face you will see at most any event we sponsor, always working, always part of the equation before and after.


I don't have the entire list yet, but we had many regulars present that give tirelessly for the ISA.

ALL of the volunteers made this event a tremendous success.

Mitchell S, Jim B, Ron K, John W, Wildman Spiziewski, Cory G...help me out here, gang.

Post your experiences!


What I'd like from each of you is to respond to this post by stating what you gained from it, and how the experience was worthwhile to you.

I could go on and on, but we need to hear from YOU why this is important in your life.


Sgt. Tommy's Kids volunteers worked really hard to make this happen as well, and of course Walleyes Chicago and a couple local scout groups enabled us to survive the onslaught of visitors to our corner.


In the last 7 days alone, we've brought you stream sampling, a river documentary filming, youth mentoring/education and multiple outings on local rivers.

Not bad for September!

A remarkably active club if ever I've seen one.

...and it's nap time for me for a bit. ; )


A few quick photos I snatched from the camera:


Craig is off to the left.

Think about doing this for 16 hours......an amazing feat by an incredible volunteer.









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Too polite to toot his own horn, but the biggest thanks goes to Mike Clifford who not only worked both days, but spent the night in Plano away from his family. Mike you are the one who made it happen. Volunteers that help out are wonderful, but a person who will organize an event is priceless. Thank you Mike!!

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truely was a fine outdoor weekend. we would have had more members helping but some were at the DRIFT club booth tying flies with kids or teaching fly casting. jim j you missed your chance to cast the fly rod again.. i'm sure mike has some ideas on how to improve our program next year. rich

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Thank's for the mention Mike but Scott is correct,you are far too humble about your own efforts.That said, I was humbled by Craig's dedication to what he was doing,I don't think he took a break all day even when I offered to relieve him for a while.As I have said before it's not work if you believe in and love what you are doing


Ed Buric

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truely was a fine outdoor weekend. we would have had more members helping but some were at the DRIFT club booth tying flies with kids or teaching fly casting. jim j you missed your chance to cast the fly rod again.. i'm sure mike has some ideas on how to improve our program next year. rich

Yep, Rich and I took a walk around the site and discussed ways we'll improve for next year.

It was actually very well situated once we got our bearings, and run with great professionalism by all the volunteers.

Our first attempt at such a large-scale fishing event, so we will tweak a few things for next year...but an incredible success nonetheless.

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Thank you Mike, Rich Craig, Ed,Jim B, Spiz, Ron, Stan, all the Drift guys inside the tent.

I learn by example. I am appreciative of being able to pass on some knowledge and :D.



Job well done only to be out done next year.





GO BEARS!!!!! 3-0

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What a great job by all the volunteers and a special thanks to Mike Clifford for his special heart for spearheading this volunteer effort for kids and families.


I had fun playing 'grandpa' on Saturday (since mine are located out in Bozeman, MT). The kids learned a bit of a lesson about our 'Catch n Release' game when I had the kids hold onto their 'catch' for a short time and the 'pond' shorly had NO FISH. They gladly 'released' their 'prizes' so they could catch them again.


Also, thanks to John Loebach and Ed Buric for your support.


Great going, ISA!


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You guys are FANTASTIC!


Great volunteers working in a great organization.


Many thanks to all and especially Mike who always is on the front lines!


Mike, you're right. Unbelievable amount of opportunities for our members.



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Personnaly, I enjoy talking to the people I meet at these events. I appreciate what ISA represents and try to sell that message for new members. Lets face it....without particpation in events like this, conservation really wouldn't make a difference to the people we are trying to influence. Participation is a great way to demonstrate..."we are here and this is important". As we can see from members above, conservation and education takes time, work, effort, dedication, and appreciation for the resource we are trying to preserve. Without it....by now, there wouldn't be anything left to preserve. I volunteered for only a few hours Sunday but by the looks of everything there, I can only imagine how much effort it must have took to put it all together. Thanks to everyone involved this year!

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