Kids compete for Biggest Catch

Maijia Raleigh casts her line.

Story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman

15th Wing Public Affairs

More than 100 children lined up along the shores of the Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Gardens to cast fishing lines during the 18th Annual Friends of Hickam Keiki Fishing Tournament in Kaneohe, May 31.

Staff Sgt. Desiree Van Buren, 535th Airlift Squadron administrator, helps her daughter cast her fishing line.

The catch-and-release tournament was free and open to the children ages 5-12 of Airmen stationed at Hickam.

“Our mission’s success is built upon the backs of our Airmen and the sacrifices of their family members,” said Col. Cavan Craddock, 15th Wing vice commander. “Let’s take a few hours to show our families how much we appreciate them.”

Using bamboo sticks, the children fished a 600-yard section of a pond stocked with smallmouth bass, catfish, red devil fish, and tilapia.

Afterwards, the fish caught were measured by a volunteer team of fishing marshals comprised of volunteers from the Friends of Hickam and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam personnel.

All the food, equipment and prizes were provided by the hosts of the event, the Friends of Hickam, a community outreach group.

The tournament is a long-standing tradition that unites the Airmen of the 15th Wing with the Friends of Hickam to build stronger relationships between the base and the community.

“The Friends of Hickam’s mission is to provide public support for the men and women assigned to the 15th Wing and its tenant units,” said Nicole Darity, president of the Friends of Hickam. “We also want to help improve the quality of life for the Airmen and build up camaraderie between the community and the base.”

With the equipment provided by the Friends of Hickam, participating members were focused on spending some quality time together as a family.

At the end of the day, everyone was fished out, but not a single child walked away from their experience with empty hands. Every child received a brand new fishing pole and goody-bags courtesy of the Friends of Hickam.

“We understand how hard it is to constantly have to pick up and relocate away from their families and friends,” Darity said. “This is our way of extending our ohana to the base.”

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Category: Life & Leisure