PORTSMOUTH- Gary Messer has been awarded the Life Changer award by the Alf Bricker Trout Derby, an award that speaks to his dedication to the community’s disabled children and veterans.
“That’s a rarity to pick out one person,” said Todd Dunn, who runs the trout derby. “This is an achievement that he’s earned over the years. This is not just handed out.”
Messer also works with the annual True Lure deer and pheasant hunts for disabled children and veterans. He has used his talent for taxidermy to make sure those who take part get a trophy. At this year’s trout derby, he worked with Willie Brown toward the five-fish limit. While they didn’t quite get past four fish, what they did achieve was far more important.
“He made a young man smile without even trying,” Dunn said. “It’s all about the young man getting to fish. No matter how they’re disabled, we’ve made it possible for them to catch fish.”
In addition to Messer’s individual award, the trout derby also presented a plaque to Painters’ Local 555 for their work with the event.
“It’s on the wall,” said Barry Frost, president of 555.
Local unions are a big part of making the events for disabled residents and veterans a success. The participation of volunteers in setup, tear down, and helping participants enjoy the outdoors and outdoors sports is crucial.
“[The best part is] to see the excitement on their face when they catch one,” Frost said.
The next events in the True Lure series for disabled children and veterans will be the deer and pheasant hunts in the fall. To donate or volunteer, contact Todd Dunn at (740)