A few weeks ago, standing on the banks of Elk Creek outside of Erie, a friend of mine asked me what it is that makes our chapter so special. I stood for a moment, staring into the late fall sky, and the answer came easily and brought a warm smile to my face. It’s the people. It’s each of you – contributing in your own way and doing what we can as stewards of a watershed. And what we’ve accomplished together over this past fall was no small feat.
September 18th – a Big Day.
Jim Keirn championed our first ever Women’s Intro to Fly Fishing clinic in partnership with the PA Fish and Boat Commission. Thanks to Jim’s passion, nearly twenty students were introduced to a life-changing sport and were welcomed into a community that lives to give back. Welcome, Ladies! We’re glad to have you.
Later that day, the chapter brought home an unprecedented three awards from the PATU Annual Membership meeting. It was recognition for your efforts, and well deserved. That recognition echoed throughout the fall as our local and state legislators followed suit.
It didn’t stop there. Weeks later we hosted a dozen vision impaired children and their families streamside along Tom’s Run for an incredible morning of trout fishing. We held our inaugural MCTU One Fly Tournament. We honored local landowners with a Landowner Appreciation Day. And to close out the fall, thirty-plus volunteers planted 700+ trees on multiple acres along Class A trout water in Stewartstown.
It’s the people. After many years of leadership within the chapter, Fred Hess decided to take a hiatus from the board of directors to provide an opportunity for someone else to lead. We’re indebted to Fritz for his many years of leadership. Adam Miller stepped up to take the role of Vice President, and John Snyder was excited to accept the nomination for the open board position. I look forward to their continued contributions to the chapter.
It’s the people. One volunteer has been notably absent from chapter events over the past year or so – Denny Leicht. I was saddened to learn of Denny’s passing this week. Denny had often volunteered with stocking efforts and our fundraiser with the York Revs. He was also a fixture at our VisionCorp fishing day each year – Denny loved helping those kids to fish. Rest well, Sir – you were MCTU.
After a long climb, it’s important to turn around and look at how far you’ve come. Because of volunteers like you, we have quite the year to look back on. I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished, together. Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill recently asked me, “What’s next?”; the good news is – much like the flow of the river, it never stops.
Enjoy the day.
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