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Local News

Stadalsky: Young volunteers giving back through community service

Putting on a big community event such as Summerfest takes a lot of volunteers and community involvement. Sometimes you can see who helps out because they are up front and center or listed as a sponsor.

But then there are those who do the behind-the-scenes work that really makes a difference, and they don’t always get noticed.

For example, there’s the Boy Scouts, who are responsible for garbage pickup during the festival. It’s not a pleasant job, but the Scouts are in there getting their hands dirty to help out the community.

Another group that really made a difference this year is Minooka High School’s Anglers Club.

Lions Club member Jerry Davidson, who you probably saw tooling around Summerfest in his golf cart, said he has never met such a hardworking bunch of young men as the Anglers Club.

“If I needed help, all I had to do was go and ask them,” Davidson said.

The club, which is made up of about 50 male and female students from Minooka High School, has generously helped out at Summerfest in the past.

Davidson knew it was going to be pretty hot during setup, so he contacted the club to see whether he could get some extra help.

To his surprise, about 25 anglers, their dads and some coaches showed up to set up tents, move tables and get things ready for this year’s Summerfest.

“I can honestly say we have never had that much help,” Davidson said.

Minooka High School guidance counselor and coach Stan Tischer also is the school sponsor of the fishing club.

Although their goal is to compete in local, regional and state fishing competitions, helping out and being an integral part of the community is just as high on the list, Tischer said.

The community supports the club in many ways, Tischer said – from sponsorships to merchandise for fundraising – so the club, in turn, finds all kinds of ways to give back.

It assisted with weigh-in for Exelon’s Fishing for a Cure annual fundraiser at Braidwood Generating Station’s cooling lake in Braceville earlier this month.

It helps keep Harborside Marina in Wilmington clean and assists at Yorkville Hunting and Fishing Days.

Any time the club is out, whether fishing or volunteering, its members take time to do any necessary cleanup.

“When we go someplace, we try to leave it better than we found it,” Tischer said. “That’s always been our motto.”

During the fall season, the Anglers Club participate in four tournaments. In the spring, it goes to sectionals and the state tournament.

On Thursday, the Minooka High School Anglers Club placed eighth in the IHSA tournament, putting it in the All-State top 10, Tischer said, and the unified team for Special Olympics brought home a second-place finish.

“It’s pretty cool,” Tischer said.

Once it completed it two-day tournament Thursday, the Anglers Club had to get back to help the Lions Club with more Summerfest setup.

“[Jerry Davidson of the Lions Club] has been supportive of us since we started. He got a lot of things going for our team, as did the Lions Club,” Tischer said. “We help them out as much as we can, and they help us out as much as they can.”

• Kris Stadalsky writes about people and issues in areas southwest of Joliet. Reach her at writestuff56@comcast.net.

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