WEST PORTSMOUTH- The True Lure Trout Derby for Children with Disabilities and Disabled Vets will welcome everyone to Roosevelt Lake Saturday, bright and early, rain or shine.
This year’s event is named for local World War II veteran Alf Bricker.
The derby’s goal of being a welcoming event for children with disabilities and disabled veterans of all ages is an important one for many reasons.
“When you sit there watching a wheelchair vet on a bass boat fishing, smiling ear to ear, that’s what it’s all about,” said Mike Bell, a veteran whose son Aaron is on the spectrum. He said it’s not easy for families that include people with disabilities to get out and about.
“A lot of us that have kids w disabilities, we can’t just take them and go anywhere,” he said.
The trout derby, which usually sees about 300 anglers enjoying the festivities, is an event that welcomes people of all abilities to a day of free fishing, fun, food, and family.
“We supply all the food, all the drinks – everything is paid for,” said founder Todd Dunn. “All they have to do is show up.”
The event has sponsorships and donations from several local businesses, unions, and civic groups, but are always welcoming more. Folks who want to attend don’t even have to bring their own fishing poles, they can receive a free one at the event.
Groups that have signed on to donate or help at the event include: American Legion James Dickey Post 23, the local electrical and painters’ unions, the Portsmouth Eagles, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Bell said the most important part of the day is making memories. He lost his wife and Aaron’s mom, Pam, last year and the pictures and videos from past events make him smile.
“It creates memories,” he said. “Bring your kids out because you never know what tomorrow brings.
Reach Lori McNelly at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1928, by email at [email protected], © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved