EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WNCT) – For military children, deployment can be a difficult time that lasts for months or even years.
It wasn’t your usual crowd out on the Bogue Inlet Fishing pier at Emerald Isle Wednesday.
30 kids from Camp Lejeune received custom built fishing rods, all to give back to military families.
“These families are sacrificing everything, sometimes including their health or their lives,” said Sgt. Robert Quates, who built the fishing rods.
He served in the Vietnam War. After getting a cold reception when he returned to the states, he decided to give back to the kids of active duty Marines.
“We need to be more appreciative of what our military families do as a family,” said Quates. “Not just the service member, but the children and the extended family of the service member are also affected by this.”
Each rod is engraved with the child’s name and the emblem of the Marine Corps.
One of those kids is ten-year-old Elijah Monit. He said fishing is something he used to do with his father, “My dad’s been deployed tons of times, but this time is the longest. He’s going to come back in a very long time. And since my dad’s gone, it’s been fishing really fun to take the time away from him being gone.”
Volunteers from a local fishing club were also on hand to help the kids holding a pole for the first time.
“To be able to give them everything, the bait, the line, the reel, the rod, it’s really priceless,” said Paul Park, founder of Team Mac Attack.
It was a successful day at the pier with many of the first time fishermen proudly showing off their catches of the day.
Fishing club organizers said they hope to give away more custom fishing rods in the future.
If you’d like to help, click here for a link.