‘Fishing Has No Boundaries’ hosts third annual event
Fishing -- it’s an activity many Michiganders take for granted. But for some, picking up a pole and heading to the water simply is not feasible… often, because of a physical disability.
One organization’s mission is to make sure everybody who wants to fish can actually head out on the water and catch a big one.
It’s a sunny Saturday morning, and dozens of people are gathered near the shores of Sanford Lake in Midland County. It’s the third time ‘Fishing Has No Boundaries’ has hosted the event in Michigan, and people with all sorts of disabilities have turned out, eagerly anticipating a chance to get out on the water and go fishing.
It didn't matter if you were blind or deaf, or had a physical disability, you could fish and have a good time.
“The thing is with fishing has no boundaries we’re not bound by nothing. We don't have a disability over here. We do what we have to do”.
Jerry Mader - or Jammin’ Jerry as he introduces himself - is the vice president of Michigan’s chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries. He’s also the DJ for the after party that starts as soon as the fishing ends.
“I mean I’m blind and I'm fortunate. I am very fortunate to have the disability that I have”.
Jerry’s words seemed to be the general consensus. Everybody I spoke with said they are happy the way they are. They said there’s nothing they can't do anymore, thanks to groups like Fishing Has No Boundaries making just about anything possible.
“When you give them a reel Travis their face lights up. I don't have to see to know their face is lighting up because I can hear it. They're excited, they’re having fun, they’re getting into it. It’s something special for these people. They look forward to this event every single year. And they come back every single year because they know they’re going to have fun and they know that they’re going to have good time”.
It wasn’t just the participants having fun. The volunteers… and even a certain public radio reporter, were enjoying the experience as well.
I spoke with one boat captain, Mark, who declined to give his last name. He said a friend roped him to volunteering his boat. He said he doesn’t regret saying yes one bit.
“Watching the reaction of these people who would have never had the opportunity to do this and it was very very rewarding to have them out with us today”.
“It’s growing and we’re going to keep growing but the more volunteer boats we can get the more people we can take fishing”.
Ben Kissee is the president of the Michigan chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries. He said the event gets better every year, and it’s all because of the volunteers.
“We had a great day, we took out a total of about 28 people fishing. So, everyone had a great time. We had some delicious food. We met some cool people and everyone just had a wonderful time”.
Kissee said he is already looking forward to next August, and the goal is to have even more volunteers and participants than this year.
Kissee said for information on how you can get involved next year, feel free to contact him.
Phone: (989) 780-6248