BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The pros on the Bassmaster Elite Series trail travel together, eat together and fish together. Despite the fact that they compete against each other, the pros have formed a family.
And when a family member is hurting, the family takes him under their wings.
Mark Menendez's wife, Donna, is battling pancreatic cancer. He has taken another year off the Bassmaster Elite Series trail for family hardship.
And now his pro "family" is doing what it can to help.
"For every pound of fish Gerald weighs in at the Classic," said Le Ann Swindle, wife of Classic competitor Gerald Swindle, "we are going to donate $5 directly to Donna and her family."
For the Swindles, it was a no-brainer.
"Gerald and I were discussing different ways that we could help support Donna and her family," said Le Ann. "Our family was personally touched by pancreatic cancer with Gerald's oldest brother, Tony. We know what a toll this disease can take on a family.
"While on tour, the guys take care of each other," Le Ann continued. "You'll see anglers helping anglers on the side of the road, on the water and even with minor repairs to their campers.
"We would like for Donna to know that she is family, and we take care of our family."
The Swindles aren't the only ones, either. Brent and Bobbi Chapman, Chad and Debbie Morgenthaler and Ott and Jennie Defoe are also making contributions. We'll follow up after the Classic and as the season begins.
"It would be awesome to see the support for Donna continue to grow and build momentum throughout the 2014 Elite season," said Le Ann.
Those intersted in making a donation to the Menendez family can send them to:
Menendez Family Benefit Account
PO Box 2600
Paducah, KY 42002