The annual “Rainbows for Vets” event at the National Fish Hatchery at 520 Park in Neosho offered a great fishing opportunity under sunny skies Saturday morning.
Free fishing was provided to any veteran or to anyone currently serving in the military with proof of service in the 9 a.m. to noon event.
Roderick May, who oversees the Hatchery, said the morning was designed for veterans. The event grew a good crowd.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing for them to do this,” says 76 year-old Charles Arnce of Neosho.
Arnce, 76, served in Vietnam in the Navy in 1966.
“Our vets derby is actually our first derby of the season,” May says. “Our pond is fully stocked so the veterans get all the nice trout,” May said
Carl Neubert of Carthage says he’s an “every once in awhile” trout fisherman.
“Its a great deal for people who don’t get a chance to do any fishing. They provide the poles, the bait, the chair and they clean the fish and bag them for you when you’re done.”
Neubert, 69, is a veteran of the U.S. Army.
The Hatchery provides several events open to various segments of the public throughout the year including a Kid’s Derby and a Senior Citizens Derby.
May says volunteers help make the Veteran derby a community event. After the morning of fishing, the day concluded with an outside lunch.