SEELEY – The Townsel family's 14th Annual Wes, Cody, and Tanner (WCT) Family Fishing Fun Day held at Sunbeam Lake, Saturday, May 20, lured a communal pursuit of landing a lunker.
Organizers emphasized that the event happens every year to make sure Wes, Cody, and Tanner's memories remain alive.
The smiles from faces of all shapes and sizes reflected off the still lake water as raffles, food, drinks, and waterslides were utilized by the eventgoers.
Aside from the legacy of family engagement that comes along with fishing, the event also produced scholarship funds for Haleigh Townsel (the surviving daughter of Wes) and two additional scholarship funds for an Imperial High School senior and a Central Union High School senior.
What makes the 2023 edition of the WCT Townsel Memorial Family Fishing Funday unique is that Haleigh is now a senior in high school and will be heading off to attend college at Oklahoma State University to pursue the study of Animal Science.
After 14 years of family, community, and like-minded support from fishing aficionados, Haleigh’s scholarship proceeds will be utilized this August when she moves on to the next chapter in her life.
As per the family, Haleigh has had a passion for the medical field from early on.
“She first decided that she wanted to be a doctor and then a veterinarian," said mother, Jennifer Townsel. "After participating in 4-H and being around animals so much, it was like a natural thing for her to pursue the subject of animal science.”
According to family members, the community support has made this event a positive remembrance instead of negative genuflect.
"People that I have never met and friends of the boys that I’ve known for years approach to tell me stories and relive happy moments that keep their memories alive," said Jennifer.
The family elaborated on the future of this event.
"We are not going to stop," said Jennifer. "We’re still going to give out the scholarships, she’s still going to go off to college, we’re going to make sure she gets through there (college experience), and we’re going to make sure we continue to get the community out here every year."
“Thank you, everyone, for coming out and all the people here,” said Haleigh.
Fishing poles and tackle were gifted to the first 100 kids that arrived. The Townsel family and TCW efforts have produced 1,700 poles over the years for future anglers.
According to the organizers, the whole idea of coming to celebrate a day of fishing at the lake is to encourage kids that have never fished before.
"We have bait, we have help, we have fishing poles, we have everything for them to experience a fun family day of fishing," said Jennifer. "We just love the raw happiness of when a kid catches fish for the first time. Fishing makes us interact with each other with a common goal of something other than being on our phones. And just hang out together. The ultimate thing is family time."
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