September 26, 2004 > Let's Go Fishing!
Let's Go Fishing!
To many seasoned fishermen, the response to such an invitation needs little thought and is immediately accepted. Rod and reel in hand, they join fellow enthusiasts at rivers, lakes and on the ocean with determination to bring home the "big one." Of course, if that wily fish is still defiantly swimming after the outing, there are always stories of the one that got away!
Quarry Lakes, a favorite "fishin' hole" for locals, was host to a new set of fishermen one morning this month. The Fremont Dawn Breakers Lions Club, true to their name, were hard at work before dawn setting up a hearty breakfast for a group of volunteers working with "Let's Go Fishing," a national ministry that helps strengthen families and promote "spiritual growth" through outings for those who ordinarily would not participate in this type of activity.
As the sun rose, volunteers arrived and received their instructions and breakfast. Shortly thereafter, cars and buses pulled up to the picnic area and young and older kids made a beeline for the food, then quickly to a series of venues including a fishing game, nature study, arts and crafts and, of course, the fishing area! Groups were assigned "chaperones" to assist those who needed help and a playful clown and friendly petting dog comforted youngsters who approached the day with trepidation. For those with physical disabilities, special equipment was available to assist so all could take part in a day of fishing -there is even an electronic reel that works by mouth!
Jim Grassi of "Let's Go Fishing" said that during these activities, incidents worthy of the label "miracle" have occurred. He told the volunteers to be aware that, "For us, it's a nice day and then it's over; but for these kids, it is the most important day in their life!" To illustrate, he and Herm Dost, a volunteer who has been involved with this ministry for over 15 years, related a story about a young man who had not spoken a word for years. When he caught a fish, he was so delighted that he exclaimed, "I caught a fish!"
Grassi went on say that although many of us receive the moral support of our families, often those with disabilities and disadvantaged homes receive little affection and need to know that there is love for them as well. "Let's Go Fishing" has over 200 volunteers in the Bay Area and for this event, gathered 30 members along with other non-affiliated volunteers to join the fun.
As noon approached, the Lions were still cooking, but switched from pancakes, bacon and coffee to hamburgers and hot dogs. Event Co-chairs, Phil Utic and Ron Hudson were busy along with other club members making sure all who attended were well fed. Fixins' were provided courtesy of the East Bay Regional Park District who has hosted this event at Quarry Lakes for the past two years and similar events at other park locations for many more.
At the end of the day, contented smiles were common and many clutched a cleaned fish that would end up on the dinner table. For all, there were stories to tell and an experience to remember for a lifetime!
Those interested in joining the Dawn Breakers Lions Club are invited to join them at 6:45 a.m. on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month at Mi Pueblo Restaurant in Fremont. For more details, contact Ed Shannon (510) 651-6786.