Abingdon, Va. — The Virginia Tech bass fishing team held the Milton Sheesley Memorial Fishing Open April 1 at South Holsten Lake to help the family of their teammate who was killed in a traffic accident.
The benefit tournament drew 24 teams of college anglers and raised about $1,000 for the Sheesley family. “We talked to the family about what they wanted to do (with the money),” said Tyler Dixon, a Virginia Tech sophomore who coordinated the tournament. “We ordered a jersey for Milton for his family this year, and we had already covered enough money for all that along with a shadow box for a memento. We are also going to start a scholarship fund in his name.”
The Virginia Tech team plans on making the tournament an annual benefit event with proceeds funding the scholarship. Sheesley was a civil engineer major who always had a hard hat with him, so the team ordered “stress balls” in a hard-hat-shape and labeled with his name and will sell the balls as another fundraiser for the scholarship. Dixon said the scholarship will either be awarded to Milton Sheesley’s sister or a civil engineer student at Virginia Tech who expresses interest in bass fishing.
The Tusculum College tandem of Nick Hatfield and Corey Neece won the tournament by catching a five-bass limit weighing 14.80 pounds. West Virginia University anglers Nolan Minor and Casey Lanier finished second with a 14.335-pound limit.
Dixon said he was pleased with the results of the tournament, which was attended by Sheesley’s parents, sister and some cousins. “It’s pretty cool that we were able to honor Milton this way,” Dixon said. “Seeing his family there kind of touches your heart and brings back a lot of memories.”
Anyone wishing to buy a hard hat stress ball or make a donation to the scholarship can visit the Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team Facebook page or the team’s website www.vtbassteam.com.