By Susan Hallock
COCHECTON March 4, 2008 As the clouds cleared and the rain stopped and the sun began to shine on Saturday, February 16, one could almost feel Jerry Sheppard’s presence at the second annual Jerry Sheppard Memorial Free Youth Ice Fishing Event on Mitchell Pond in Lake Huntington.
Sheppard passed away in September 2006 after an illness, but during his lifetime Jerry loved children and he was always the first one to help out the kids or just do whatever a child would need.
He loved kids and especially seeing them outdoors having fun.
Shortly after his passing, the Sheppard family, Forz or Morz the hunting club of which Jerry was a member and many of Jerry’s friends came up with the idea of holding a children’s ice fishing derby to keep Jerry’s memory alive.
A total of 77 kids participated in this year’s free ice fishing event. Every child who fished received a prize and was a winner, just the way Jerry would have wanted every child to be.
The February 16 event was put on with the help of the Sheppard family, the Forz or Morz Hunting Club, the Federation of Sportsmen’s Club of Sullivan County and numerous friends.
Each child received free bait to fish with and free lunch as well as other refreshments throughout the day.
“Today, as Jerry would say, was a very much ‘goodly’ day,” April Sheppard said of her late brother-in-law. “Jerry would have loved being here, but we know he was here with us in spirit watching over everyone today and the kids having a great time. That is what Jerry loved was children and the outdoors and it is great to see all the kids coming in to get their fish weighed and they are all just so thrilled with it.
“We want to thank everyone who helped out here today and with everyone working so well together from drilling the holes to serving a hot dog, it just went great and Jerry would have been so proud,” she added.
The event winners included: Largest Fish of the Day Brad Gruber, who caught a 25 7/8-inch pickerel; Largest Perch a tie between Silas Lake and Faith Freedman, each of whom caught a 12 3/4-inch perch; Largest Crappie Emily Lutz, 13 1/4 inches; Largest Bullhead Steven Cooper, 15 7/8 inches, Heaviest/Widest Bullhead Courtney Krom, Largest Bluegill Jessica McGee, 7 1/2 inches, Most Fish Howard Hermann and the Youngest Fisher of the Day a tie between 2-year-old Josh Lutz and 2-year-old Michael Maas.