San Antonio, TX — Around 150 young anglers and their families joined former NFL players and union volunteers at San Antonio’s Southside Lions Park on Saturday for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) 3rd Annual Fishing Lines at Christmas Time family fishing event.
The San Antonio Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) organized the free community event with support from the Priest Holmes Foundation, NFLPA San Antonio/Austin Former Players Chapter, and Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation.
Fourteen union volunteers representing the San Antonio BCTC, Sheet Metal Workers Local 67, Roofers Local 123, Electrical Workers Local 60, Insulators Local 87, Laborers’ Local 1095, United Association Local 142, and the NFLPA San Antonio/Austin Former Players Chapter donated their time to rig fishing poles and provide youth with instruction and assistance in baiting and casting at Lions Park Lake. Wardens from Texas Parks and Wildlife were on hand and brought their water patrol boat for the young anglers.
“The sheer number of volunteers coming out was more than expected,” said USA Conservation Coordinator Cody Campbell. “It was impressive to see the number of people who showed up.”
Even though the forecast called for sun and 77 degrees, the weather was less than ideal. “It rained pretty much the entire time,” Campbell said. “Even so, families were not deterred. Once they were there, no one left. Seeing them out there fishing, being together, and enjoying time outside is what it’s all about.”
Priest Holmes, former NFL All-pro running back and founder of the Priest Holmes Foundation, was proud to be part of the youth outreach event in the city where he grew up. “It’s great to be able to have an activity that brings them outdoors to have a good time,” Holmes said.
Every young angler received a free rod and reel to use at the event and to take home. A free picnic-style lunch was provided to all attendees as well. Holmes even got a DJ and brought stuffed animals and other toys, even giving away a few bicycles. “He really stepped things up this year,” Campbell said.
“I love it when I see these kids walk away with a free fishing rod,” Holmes said. “And their excitement when they see the worms and dig their hands in the cups.”
“Another reason to put on this event is to provide some hope during this time because it is the holidays, and this is the loneliest time for many people who don’t have family or loved ones.”
Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA): The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Work Boots on the Ground (WBG): WBG is the USA’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide manpower needed to complete critical projects that may otherwise go undone.