By Randy Murray, Fort Stewart Public AffairsApril 15, 2010
FORT STEWART, Ga. - A wise man once said you would be doing yourself a favor if you took a kid fishing. That's because a special joy fills the heart when you see a child hook a fish and watch him or her eagerly reel it in.
Several Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield parents and grandparents discovered this special joy during the Youth Fishing Event at Fort Stewart's Pond 30, April 8.
Moms, dads and granddads stood along the shore with excited boys and girls, helping bait their hooks with "nasty" chicken livers, cast their lines "way out there" and safely remove "slippery" catfish from their hooks once the young anglers got their fish to shore.
"I bait her hook for her and take the fish off the hook for her," said retired Soldier William Tully regarding his 7-year-old daughter, Laurin, who was keeping him busy doing one or the other. "She's having a good time; that's all the matters."
Retired Soldier-granddad Garry Lawson and Family Member Duane Malek shared similar stories as they assisted Alex Freeman, 11, and Josh Malek, 7, respectively.
Specialist Michael Peruciel went above and beyond the call of daddy's duty while helping his son Jonathan, 7. After hooking a rather large catfish, Jonathan's line broke, but dad chased the line to the water's edge, grabbed it up and pulled in the fish with his bare hands.
After watching Dad be the hero, Justin Peruciel, 3, decided to assist his sister Joshelyn, 5, as she struggled to land the catfish she'd hooked. Rather than reel the fish all the way in, he and Joshelyn simply backed up, pulling the fish out of the water and up the bank, which wasn't that easy for little Justin, who tripped and fell, causing sis to have to then assist him.
According to Rachael Hallman, fishery biologist with Stewart-Hunter Fish and Wildlife, Pond 30 was stocked with more than 3,000 pounds of catfish for the event, which started at 8 a.m. and ended at 11 a.m. Although the fish were not weighed, it appeared the young fisherman caught quite a few of them, leaving a few for the adults who tried their luck at Pond 30 that afternoon or the next day.
More special events for youth and children are planned by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation throughout the month of April, the Month of the Military Child.