Angel Anglers, led by Elite Series pro Randy Howell, and longtime friend Glenn Hamer, made a visit Friday morning to the Greenville Hospital System, University Medical Center, Children's Hospital. The 67 bed facility serves all types of children's illnesses.
"The kids are really excited about this. It gives them a chance to meet people they see on TV and to feel like they know them," says Emily Kear, Child Life Specialist, whose duties include helping children and their families cope with illness. "And, it also takes their minds off their illness and gives them something positive to think about for awhile. It's absolutely wonderful. We really appreciate it."
Accompanying Howell — and packing plenty of gifts for the kids — was Elite Series pros Lee Bailey, Bobby Myers, James Niggemeyer and Jason Williamson as well as WBT professional anglers Rose Ellis and Laura Gober. Chris Brown from Strike King and Larry Thornhill from Fish Harder Companies rounded out the group.
The program started four years ago as a way to bring joy and a good time to children struck with childhood illness and to promote the sport of bass fishing with positive, community related stories.
"When it first started it was very informal. We'd visit hospitals in our competition cities as best we could. But over time it took off and now Angel Anglers has a life of its own," says Howell. "With the help of Janet Bell, BASS Angler Relations, and our industry sponsors, it's turned into a big deal. We do it everywhere we go. It's really great to see the kids cheer up and to hear their fishing stories."
Angel Anglers will visit children's hospitals in each of the Elite Series venues during the 2008 season as well as during future Bassmaster Classics. Each visit will feature a different set of anglers depending upon their schedules.