At the annual meeting of the Sleepy Eye chapter of Let’s Go Fishing (LGF) Oct. 10 at the Sleepy Eye Community Center, volunteer Lenny Seidl was delighted to receive the group’s “You Made a Reel Difference” traveling trophy.
However, this isn’t the first time Lenny has been recognized for his hard work in taking area seniors and residents out for pontoon rides. In 2012, he also received this award, given out to the top volunteer for runs. Last year Lenny went on 32 runs. This year he managed to go on 25 runs with Jerry Schueler close behind him at 22 runs and Don Billmeier with 17 runs.
Lenny said the reason he has volunteered for the last three seasons is because it feels good to help out.
“Usually we have two people at a time to drive the boat, bait hooks, throw lines in the water and help people get on and off the pontoon,” Lenny noted.
The boat is docked at Sleepy Eye Lake and runs are scheduled two to three times a day. Out of 23 LGF Chapters in the State of Minnesota, Sleepy Eye was fourth with 151 runs scheduled this season. The season began this year in June and ended in September.
Senior citizens from Divine Providence, Sleepy Eye Care Center, Countryside Retirement Community and Lake Villa Maria have participated in LGF. There are also others who come from New Ulm, Redwood Falls, Springfield, Arlington, Gaylord and Mankato.
“They come from far and wide,” Lenny added.
He went on to say that the group could always use more volunteers as the Let’s Go Fishing chapter is for more than just senior citizens. Lenny said the pontoon has also been used for family outings, class reunions and campers at Sportsman’s Park.
The Sleepy Eye LGF chapter has been going strong for seven years now. During this time, the group’s work has grown substantially.
According to Dale Evers, chapter president, Sleepy Eye has the fourth busiest chapter in the state in terms of number of pontoon rides. This past summer, the group had 151 scheduled runs. In terms of people, that equals over 850 people who have been afforded the opportunity for a cruise around Sleepy Eye Lake in the pontoon. Evers said these rides bring smiles to the faces of those who otherwise don’t get out too much.
Evers went on to thank the volunteers and others who make their mission possible. This includes the City of Sleepy Eye, which gives money to the program each year. Also, members of the city’s parks department help get the pontoon out of tough situations.
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Besides a report from Evers and the giving of the annual trophy, the evening included a catered meal and other presentations. Both presentations included experiences of volunteering for LGF. The first presentation was given by first-year volunteer Kayla Nason and the second presentation was given by veteran volunteer Russ Sorenson.