Look at the smile on this future angler’s face! That future is now a whole lot closer thanks to Chicago firefighters and police officers.
Chicago’s finest came together to take 75 local kids fishing at Columbus Park Thursday. Many, like the lad seen below, have never had the opportunity to reel in their own catch before. No longer!
“You could see on their faces how much they enjoyed getting out and not having to worry about everything else going on in the city—just to be kids again,” Jim Calvino, president of the Chicago Police Sergeant’s Association, tells local FOX 32.
Calvino adds that, in addition to being just plain excellent fun, “fishing teaches kids that patience can be rewarding.”
Ain’t that the truth, Outsiders! Hopefully, these little anglers caught more than I did while attempting to teach my little sister fishing over the summer. (Zero. I caught zero fish that day. It is a shame I bear forever.)
Moreover, each Chicago angler-to-be brought home their own fishing rod and reel for free following the event. Now that’s the way to do it.
Chicagoans owe the wonderful program to Doug Aller. Aller is vice president of New Concept Benefit Group, and brought the gathering to life after seeing photos of an outreach event. There, first responders on the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) website did something similar in 2019. After connecting with USA staff himself, the kid’s fishing extravaganza was born.
Chicago’s Finest Bring Fishing to Inner-City Kids
“We are a financial company that serves police officers and firefighters, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to bring first responders and members of the community together in a fun environment where they could get to know each other on a personal level as neighbors,” Aller tells the outlet.
Aller is additionally happy to see the program get children “out from behind the computer screen to interact with one another.”
Spoken like a true Outsider. Some of Chicago’s best came out for the event, too, including Joe Senorski, director of political action for Fire Fighters Local 2. He and his 13-year-old son would volunteer for Thursday’s event. Both are avid anglers, and put their skills to use teaching fellow young Chicagoans how to fish for the day.
“Day in and day out, we deal with the citizens of Chicago, and it’s usually a negative situation – a fire, when someone has to go to the hospital, or after an accident,” Senorski tells FOX 32. “It’s great when we can interact with people in a positive environment and give back.”
Quentin Curtis echoes this. Curtis is a Chicago firefighter himself, and also president of the Black Fire Brigade, which he explains as a “community-based organization designed around taking kids off the street and putting them in public safety.”
“We thought this was a chance to bring the police and fire departments together to help build camaraderie in the community,” he says of the fishing holiday. “And let people know we are there for them not only in the bad times, but also in the good.”
Well done, Chicago!