By Gregg Scott
Saturday, June 24 was a day to remember for many Lassen and Plumas County veterans. As the sun came up those veterans officially began the sixth annual Almanor Fishing Association (AFA) Veterans Fishing Day on Lake Almanor, and what a day it was. Some 50 boat captains, many of which are professional fishing guides, volunteered their boats to take a multitude of veterans from all branches of the service out on the lake for a day of fun, fishing and camaraderie. The morning was so gorgeous — the 5:30 a.m. start to the day didn’t seem to faze most of the participants. As would be expected the fishing results were varied, but it sounded like most of the boats had pretty good success.
Sometime around mid-day all the boats gathered together around what has been dubbed “Flag Island.” Flag Island is adorned with the American Flag as a tribute to all who have served in the Armed Forces of our country. Then a slow ‘float-by’ as a salute to all veterans.
But the day was not over by a long shot. The Lake Almanor Elks Lodge #2626 barbecued some of the tastiest tri-tips and chicken for veterans, captains, crews and families that gathered together at Lake Almanor Country Club at 3 p.m. for an afternoon supper that would knock your socks off (if you were wearing them). Big supporter of veterans and AFA, Pacific Seafood provided all of the meat for the meal and Elks and other volunteers filled in the rest of the feast.
Each veteran received a door prize ticket that they could place in various cups for various door prize drawings. Everything from Duncan McIntire custom fishing rods to about anything outdoor or fishing related were on display to choose from.
A special recognition took place at the event after everyone finished eating. A veteran was celebrating his 100th birthday this day and so was recognized both for his service and a century of good living. John Bottomley was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II and related that he had the privilege of helping the Navaho Code Talkers get to their island assignments. Congratulations to Mr. Bottomley on your birthday and Thank You for your service.
Here are Air Force veteran, Susan Weldin (right) and Captain Brian Roccucci (Big Daddy) with a nice rainbow keeper. Weldin was just a couple of weeks out of shoulder surgery, but that didn’t keep her from reeling in this one with one hand. Photo by Gregg Scott