2011 Bassmaster Classic Louisiana Delta - New Orleans, LA, Feb 18 - 20, 2011

Touched by an angel

Courtesy Kevin Oldham
Kevin Oldham in better days, weighing 205 pounds and a healthy smile.

Can I talk about something that has nothing to do with bass fishing, but has everything to do with bass fishing?

A subject that has already been covered very well, but I'd like to chime in just one last time.

The Bassmaster Classic was in fact a "Classic" all the way, and although I've been to quite a few, this one was a little different for me as you can surely understand.

At some time I want to talk about the spectacular weigh-in, the staging, the Delta bass fishing, KVD and Aaron, even the fog delays and the Expo are certainly worth discussing.

Not now though, because quite honestly all I can think about is Kevin Oldham and the events around him. Everything I just mentioned will eventually fade from my radar, but I will remember Kevin Oldham for the rest of my life.

Kevin is a 34-year-old firefighter from Chicago who is fighting Cancer.As I understand it, his wife Katie, his two young daughters, Stella and Evie, and being at the Bassmaster Classic were the big things in his life.

His fellow firefighters from Chicago raised the money to get him to New Orleans and brought him face to face with his dream trip. Talk about heroes, the firefighter crew didn't seem to be real. Maybe they weren't.

Don Barone, another hero here, wrote the story like only he can for Bassmaster.com and referred to angels in his story, which there were many. I'm going to point out a few for you.

First there was Terry Brown, from wiredtofish.com, who teamed up with our own Angie Thompson. They began formulating the plan to take care of Kevin once he got to New Orleans. Lots of details went on as all this began to take shape but the final touch for the whole adventure was to have Kevin ride into the arena with one of the Classic anglers and help bring the bag of bass to the scales.

Angie and Terry did their "Angel" job very well up to that point, but this is where the "hammer" of all Angels stepped in. This is where Gerald Swindle took over.

Now this whole thing for the Chicago firefighter, Terry Brown, Angie Thompson and many others was not easy, but they handled it like & well, like angels would handle it. But in the case of Swindle, well here's a guy with a heart the size of the front deck of your bass boat and a young man who's been to this place recently.

You see, he just lost his brother three Classics ago with the exact same type of cancer. It nearly devastated him and I didn't know how he would make it this time. If you watched it live or on the internet, you know he stumbled a little, but angels, particularly angels on Gerald Swindle's level, have a way of recovering. And he did.So all I've talked about is this group of people who worked on seeing that all this actually took place. All these folks, although struggling, are probably back going about their normal day-to-day lives right now.

But what's Kevin Oldham doing, and why aren't we talking about him?

Oh my folks, I'll tell you why. K.O. doesn't need for me to talk about him or even feel sorry for his situation. He knows exactly what the score is. He knows he will not give up and at the end the heavens are going to light up for him.

Now by ending this piece I have to touch on a very delicate piece of the whole thing. Please go to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kkse and meet Kevin's family -- his wife Katie and daughters Stella and Evie.

May Kevin have the strength to continue this fight and may God bless his beautiful family.

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