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KOTs to volunteer at fishing event

Jan. 23, 2004

By Kyle Burton, reporter

This Saturday, the Optimist Club of Waco will once again sponsor the 'Fishing Event for Really Special People.' Constable Travis Bailey started the event 16 years ago, and since then it has grown considerably.

Bailey said the club is expecting around 3,000 people to participate this year.

Children with special needs - both mentally and physically - who wouldn't otherwise have the ability or opportunity to participate in an activity such as fishing are encouraged to attend.

The indoor event also makes it possible for people in wheelchairs to get close to the fish tank as opposed trying to maneuver over muddy ground near a lake.

Members of Kappa Omega Tau will volunteer their time at the event this year, and said the fishing event is not only rewarding to be a part of, but it's also a great thing to put on a resume.

KOT service chair Lucas Novak, a senior from San Antonio, said he expects 90 percent of KOT's members to attend the event.

'This is our biggest service event of the year, we always have a big turnout,' Novak said.

Bailey said he needs all volunteers who would be willing to help with the event, but he suggested they dress warmly because the air conditioner will be on to make a suitable environment for the fish to live.

Along with the fishing, there will also be clowns, karaoke, hot dogs and hamburgers. For many of the participants, this will be the first fishing trip they've ever had.

'Volunteering for an event like this is one of the easiest ways to do something great,' KOT member Clinton George, a senior who transferred from Baylor to the University of Texas at Austin, said. 'It's all too easy to take the gifts we've been given for granted. Helping out with this event didn't require a great deal of effort, or a huge amount of time. A simple conversation is sometimes all it takes to make those kids feel important.'

The event will be in the Heart of Texas Coliseum's General Exhibits and Fine Arts buildings. It will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Those interested in volunteering should call 752-8361.

Participants are provided fishing poles and bait. No fishing license is necessary.