Adversity has no prejudice. Nor does adversity define who you are and what you can be. Bassmaster’s Davy Hite is living proof.
Before his Bassmaster Classic win— and before capturing nearly every accolade imaginable in professional fishing, while also raising a family of his own — young Davy started life in a broken home.
“My parents divorced when I was 5 years old,” Hite said. “So, I know being from a broken home is tough on children. The reality of it, in today’s age, a lot of children have to deal with that.”
Hite began living with his grandparents during his formative years on the shores of Lake Murray with little engagement from his parents.
“There is a love and a bond, with a parent and a child, like no other,” Hite said.
Hite’s hindsight is admirable and has helped him develop a personal mission to help those who may not fully understand what is currently happening in their family lives — parent or child.
“I have made tons of mistakes in my life,” Hite said. “My parents made mistakes, but I love and respect them.
“My wife, Natalie, and I have two sons, Parker, 27, and Peyton, 22, that I am very proud of, but we can all certainly use help to be a better father.”
That’s what led Hite to the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families (SCCFF).
“In 2002, the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families was created to reduce child poverty through father engagement,” said Wayne Thornley, Director of Communications of SCCFF. “As a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, SCCFF began as a connecting point for independent fatherhood programs dotting the state.”
SCCFF’s program includes parenting and co-parenting, healthy relationships, job readiness, economic stability and men’s health — all offered free of charge.
“Since 2002, we have helped more than 16,500 fathers prepare to meet the material, emotional and spiritual needs of their children,” said Thornley.
Hite’s upbringing melded well with this organization.
“There are a number of organizations out there that focus on helping single mothers, but I did not personally know of one that focused on helping young men become fathers,” Hite said.
“I got involved to help a dad become a better father in their son or daughter’s life. I just felt like there was not anything better that I could do with my time, when I’m away from work and fishing.”
After learning more about the organization, Hite was asked to be on the Board of Trustees for the SCCFF and has served for the past three years.
“Being asked to be on the Board of Trustees for the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families was an honor that has meant so much to me,” Hite said.
Hite serves alongside 13 other community leaders, including University of South Carolina Head Basketball Coach Frank Martin.
“Davy is the kind of board member every organization searches for. He is engaged, active and generous with both his time and talents. He is not only a champion of fishing; he is a champion of fatherhood,” Thornley added.
Through this group of Columbia, S.C. leaders, the board pitched the idea of the “Reel Connection,” where Hite hosted a once in a lifetime fishing trip for one father and child as a part of a campaign to promote the importance of dads spending quality time with children.
“I think a huge misunderstanding with parents is believing that their child, son or daughter, might not love or care about them and may be ashamed of them because of a few mistakes they’ve made in life,” said Hite. “If love and respect, above all, can be relayed to a young father, I think it can be easier on them to want to go spend quality time with their child.
“That’s how the Reel Connection came into play for me. I lived through some tough times, I saw some abuse and a lot of things that kids don’t like to see.”
Through adversity and understanding, Hite hopes that children growing into adults, as well as parents, can “understand we are all human, no dad is going to be perfect and no child is going to be perfect and a simple ‘I love you’ can go a long way.”
The South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families successfully launched its inaugural Reel Connection fishing trip on October, 21st on Lake Greenwood, S.C.
Bear Napier, a police officer at Lander University, and his daughter, Meagan, were the winners of the giveaway that was open to any father that wanted to spend time with their child on the water.
“It was a wonderful experience, it gave me the chance to instill my love for the outdoors in one of my oldest children,” said Napier. “For me, it was about spending quality time in the outdoors with those that you love the most.”
“The more that we can help nurture those relationships, with a father and a child, I think the better off, not only those people can be, but this world can be,” said Hite.
The second Annual Reel Connection Campaign will launch next May with a drawing for the next fishing experience with Hite, to be given as a Father’s Day gift.
To learn more about South Carolina Fathers and Families and the many ways you can support their mission, visit them online at scfathersandfamilies.com.