Fisheree draws anglers
Event held at Manawa Area Veterans Freedom Park
By Holly Neumann
Nearly 500 people helped the sixth annual Fishing for Freedom event, hosted by the Manawa Area Veterans Freedom Park, another success.
There was something for everyone to do and there was also some friendly competition on who could catch the biggest fish.
Cindy Prinsen and her husband Chris brought in their northern pike to be measured. While Chris’s fish measured 28 inches, Cindy beat him with her fish that measured 28 1/4 inches.
The same held true for the brother and sister duo of Mia and Jed Klinger. Mia caught a perch that was 1/4-inch inch bigger than her brother’s.
“I was mad when she beat me, but she gave me $5, so that made it better,” Jed said.
“It was fun to be out fishing with my family,” Mia said. “It feels good to raise money for the veterans.”
John Luck attended the event after hearing about it on the news.
“I don’t fish, but I am a veteran and I wanted to see what this was all about,” he said.
Event touches veteran’s heart
Luck said the event touched his heart.
“I heard an adult explaining to a young child what a veteran was and why it was important to honor them,” he said. “He turned and pointed out a couple of the veterans that he knew and the boy went and thanked them. Brought a tear to my eye, as I never got a warm welcome home when I returned from Vietnam. It’s the moments like this that make me proud that I served our country.”
John Smith, who helps organize the event, thanked everyone who played a part in making the event a success.
“Without the generosity of everyone who donates or participates, our goal of building this park would not be possible,” he said. “Even with Mother Nature deciding not to cooperate very well, we once again found our pond full of people of all ages giving it their best effort.”
Winners included Katy Much, 29 1/4-inch northern pike, Mia Klinger, 11 1/4-inch perch; Alex Wohlrabe, 17 1/4-inch smallmouth bass; Justin Meidam, 12-inch crappie; and James Stone, 8 1/2-inch bluegill.
This year’s soup competition included 10 entries.
Taking top honors for the fourth year in a row was Smith with his creamy chicken dumpling; followed by Jeff Fakler, Jamboree Jambalaya; and Stephanie Baum, loaded baked potato soup.
“This is a great event,” Fakler said. “I want to beat John, so I will be back again next year.”
Funds raised from the event will be used to complete the Manawa Area Veterans Freedom Park.
“There is a great deal of pride that goes into having this event,” Smith said. “The true spirit of this fisheree fundraiser is to have a special day for families.”