In June 25 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Lake Cumberland becomes host to a special outing on Sunday morning as between 13-16 active duty troops from the middle east will receive a free day of fishing courtesy of Operation Thank You, a non-profit organization, and local striper guides, according to Matt Eggers, donations coordinator for the Indiana chapter of the organization.
Eggers said that with the help of Gov. Steve Beshear's office, the the Lake Cumberland State Park will graciously put the troops up in their facilities on Saturday night.
"The genuinely gracious folks at the Lake Cumberland State Park have opened their doors to our fine young soldiers, and have offered them a free night stay at their beautiful facility," Eggers said. "I want to personally thank Governor Steve Beshear and especially Commissioner of Parks, Gerry van der Meer, with his enthusiastic help, he made it possible for our soldiers to have a topnotch place to stay."
Fishing guides who will be taking part in this event include Phil Glass of Conley Bottom Guide Service, Gene Collins and David Bishop, Les and Carol Frizzell of Striper Mania Guide Service, Don Chappell, and Tim Tarter of Nancy Guide Service, according to Eggers.
The guides will be picking the troops up from the State Dock on Sunday morning before daylight before heading out to try and reel in some monster fish.
"We've got a lot of response from down there and everyone has been bending over backward to help," Eggers said. "Some of the guides have even expressed that they would like to do this every year."
Eddie Moore, park manager at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park and a fellow veteran, said he was happy to provide rooms for the troops.
"Eddie has not only assured the troops rooms in Lure Lodge, they have stepped up to the plate even more by hosting a dinner in honor of our courageous soldiers, I am looking forward to meeting Eddie at our event, and thanking him in person for everything he and his staff are doing for these troops," Eggers said.
Moore said the park would be providing them a complementary lunch buffet on Sunday after they return from their fishing outing.
"We are happy to be a part of this event," Moore said.
Jim Sears at State Dock also said the dock has offered the use of houseboats for overnight accommodations as well for the soldiers participating in this event, if needed.
"We're excited to help them in any way we can," Sears said.
"All I can say is what an overwhelming show of support and patriotism for our troops," Eggers said. "We can't even to begin to say how thankful we are for their support. I hope everyone who stops by the park and the dock will maybe give them a thank you for us," he said.
Eggers also said that Mike Grzanke, owner of Bright Taxidermy in Lawrenceburg, Ind., has donated a free mount for the largest fish caught by one of the troops during this event.
"Not only will a lucky soldier be able to bring in a great Lake Cumberland striper, now thanks to him and his generosity, he will have a beautiful mount to remember this day for years to come," Eggers said.
Operation Thank You is a 100 percent charitable non-profit, completely operated on donations organization, according to Eggers. All of the group's donations are given in full back to the troops.
"The main reason I wanted to be involved with this organization is because they provide 'special requests' for our troops overseas, items they do not have access to, and to hopefully make their time away from home a little better," Eggers said.
The organization receives special requests directly from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio troops stationed in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and the wounded soldiers in the Iraqi hospital of Qatar.
The organization has it set up to where the soldiers can contact us directly via phone, Internet e-mail or text messaging, he said.
Operation Thank you was founded in 2004 by Carol Alexender in Mason, Ohio while the Indiana chapter was founded by Tim and Sue Nobbe.
Operation Thank You, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a 501(c)(3) classification and all donations are tax-deductible. There are no membership fees or dues for membership.
"The only requirement for membership is a love and respect for our military and a desire to show appreciation and support for our men and women in uniform," Eggers said.