By Robin Fjelstad
NEOSHO, Mo. —
“It was such a beautiful day, these were veterans of all wars and they were socializing and talking about their experiences while they were fishing. It was everything we had dreamed of and more. So we decided, ‘Let’s do it again’.”
— David Hendrix, Neosho National Fish Hatchery manager, speaking of the inaugural “Rainbows for Veterans” event
We can never do enough, or offer gratitude sufficient, to recompense the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces. That is one of the reasons it is noteworthy anytime efforts are made to honor and show tribute to American veterans.
The second annual “Rainbows for Veterans” will be held today at the Neosho Fish Hatchery. All veterans, as well as active duty military personnel and their families, are invited to this free event.
The occasion is an opportunity for sponsors to unite and pay homage to the men and women of this community who have served our county so honorably.
There are several community sponsors for the event. Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery is host for this year’s event. Neosho Wal-Mart is supplying fishing poles. Eagle Claw is providing bobbers, hooks and poles. The Missouri Department of Conservation will supply additional fishing poles and will provide volunteers to assist anglers as needed. The Neosho Walgreens has donated 400 goodie bags for participants as well as the services of a pharmacist to conduct free blood-pressure checks. The Shoal Creek Turkey Foundation will be cooking lunch.
A band will be coming from Fort Leonard Wood to entertain participants and honor veterans.
“Without the community, we would not be here. This is a small token we can give back to the community, and we are excited about it,” Hendrix said. “A lot of good people are coming together to make this happen.”
The opening ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. and fishing will continue until 2 p.m. Participants will be able to catch and keep four rainbow trout each. The catch will be cleaned on site and packaged on ice by volunteers for participants’ convenience.
A form of military identification is required to participate. Free T-shirts will be given to the first 200 veterans.
It is recommended to arrive early for parking, registration and collecting the supplied fishing gear and bait. Forecast for Saturday is rainy, but with a high of 67 degrees, it should still be good fishing weather.
Call Janice Eaton at 417-451-0554 ext. 112 for additional information.