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Publish Date: Mon, June 04, 2018 - 3:27:00

https://www.rockvalleypt.com/assets/images/uploads/images/__alt/171.jpg

Smiles, oh those fabulous smiles.  They were everywhere,  I tell ya.

On a gorgeous June Saturday, the 2018 version of Fishing Has No Boundaries, came to life at Camanche, Iowa's Rock Creek Marina.


A record 58 anglers were served in the event sponsored by Rock Valley Physical Therapy. Some 29 boat captains made the day possible with the help of 100-plus volunteers.

It was, if there can be, the perfect day.

 Anglers caught fish and loved the opportunity to enjoy their surroundings. Boat  captains, so giving and caring,  graciously shared the day and their vessels. And the many volunteers made it an event few will forget.

Fishing Has No Boundaries Inc. is a nonprofit organization developed in Hayward, Wis., in 1986. Designed to introduce the world of fishing to those who never thought it would be possible for them, Fishing Has No Boundaries teaches individuals with disabilities how to use adaptive equipment — such as electric reels, pole holders, and dock ramps — so they can experience the outdoors and learn to fish at the same time.

Allison McGraw, an occupational therapist with Rock Valley Physical Therapy,  leads the local Fishing Has No Boundaries chapter. She said  Year No. 5 for the project was a monster success.

 

“The first year we had 30 anglers participate,'' McGraw said. "We never imagined it to have grown this much. We have our supporters and volunteers to thank for the 59 anglers we served this year.''

"This is fun, lots of fun,'' one angler said while boarding  his boat. "I'm going to catch fish today. I feel lucky.''

It was his boat captain who said he was the lucky one.

"We are glad to have you and we are going to have a great day,'' the captain said to the angler, just before leaving the dock. "I have a great feeling you will be catching lots of fish and I know we are going to have fun.''

The boat captain then paused paused and said to the volunteers who helped the angler into his boat:

"I'm the lucky one.''

For McGraw, jumping into the project was easy a few years back. The program and its many benefits hit home.

“Fishing has always been a fun outing for my family,’’ McGraw said. “With my older sister having a physical disability and my dad having a cognitive and physical disability, I saw how much difficulty they were experiencing doing something they enjoyed. “Before Fishing Has No Boundaries Eastern Iowa Chapter, my dad and sister started to isolate themselves and not want to go out into the community. Now, my sister, who is in a wheelchair, participates every year — goes out on the river on a pontoon boat and socializes with friends she now stays in contact with throughout the year. My dad, who was always nervous when being around a large group, participated as an angler just before he passed. This organization has made a difference to so many individuals with and without disabilities.''

 When McGraw decided to embrace the project, she needed support. She sought the assistance of  Rock Valley Physical Therapy,  its therapists, staffers and management team.

The response has humbled her.

“It is amazing, and I am so thankful we have been able to continue this chapter,’’ she said. “Rock Valley is about “Making Better Lives and Better Communities.’ That is what Fishing Has No Boundaries does. I cannot thank Rock Valley enough for its dedication to the project. I am touched by my peers who are involved. This would not be where it is without Rock Valley Physical Therapy.''

McGraw says 2018 was such a success, thoughts of the 2019 outing were already on on her mind.

"We want to continue this,'' she said. "This is a great way to make better lives and to make a difference in the lives of many.''

On June 2, 2018, Rock Valley Physical Therapy,  many of its therapists, staff,  members of its  management team and other  dedicated and caring group of volunteers, brought together individuals of different ages, different levels of function, and different communities.


And they made fun with Fishing Has No Boundaries.

And made family.

 

Written By: John Marx

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