Local children will get the chance to catch fish with local police officers and firefighters during the upcoming Fish with a First Responder event to be held Aug. 7 at Smith Park in Delaware.
City of Delaware Police Officer John Hartman, one of the event’s organizers, said Monday this will be the third iteration of the event, which was previously called “Fish with a Cop” but was renamed because it now includes personnel from local fire stations.
Hartman said last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic, but the event had been growing since it began in 2018 with 75 attendees. The 2019 event and the upcoming 2021 event were both capped at 150 attendees. Participants receive a free rod and reel and will be given basic fishing lessons.
This year’s event will be held at Smith Park, 1302 Troy Road, from 8 to 11 a.m. for the first session and from noon to 3 p.m. for the afternoon session. Hartman said the event filled its 150 spots within 24 hours of its announcement.
“It’s satisfying because obviously you’re putting something out there that you’re hoping goes over well that’s well received by the public and community,” Hartman said. “It’s reassuring to know that (the community wants to be involved.) It needed to come back because it was such a well-received event.”
City of Delaware Fire Inspector Blaise Stojkov said he’s looking forward to this year’s event.
“Any event that was postponed by the pandemic that can come back, an annual event or a regular event, should be attempted,” Stojkov said. “I think overall, the success of the event lends itself to repeat. The event seemed to be getting bigger. There isn’t any reason not to do it. … People want to do stuff they recall being normal.”
Stojkov added the event is one of the best ways for first responders to get to know people outside of emergencies.
“Any event where you have police, fire, civil services that involves children and adults, you usually have as much input from the adults asking questions because it might be the only interaction that they might have with us,” Stojkov said. “Hopefully, they don’t need us professionally.”
Hartman said he’s looking forward to a new generation learning how to fish.
“I love fishing and just being able to see kids, especially the ones who have never fished and don’t go outside. For them to be able to experience that and have contact with them and show them the very basics of fishing, that’s the fun part of it. … It’ll be a good time.”
Hartman said the event will also have donation boxes for People In Need, and he encouraged families attending the event to bring a food item to donate.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.