Tackling the storm: 'Gone Fishin' sign hangs out for tornado relief

MAYFLOWER, Ark. (KTHV) - With every passing week, people recovering from April's tornado find new challenges, but they also find new sources of help and hope. Sunday, tornado victims in Mayflower got free rods, bait, and tackle to help recover. While a nice day out on the lake may not sound like the most pressing necessity right now, it's exactly what some people needed.

Sunday was T.J. Sullen's first time fishing, and it didn't exactly as he had hoped, but that's ok because his mom, Barbara, was right there by his side to help him out, and it's something to take her mind off of the long recovery from April's tornado.

Barbara's family didn't lose everything in the storm but were one of more than 50 other families that cast their problems next to Lake Conway Sunday.

Another participant, David Davis, had to be hospitalized after his home was swept off its foundation, along with the six others in his family. As you can imagine today was about reeling in some much needed rest.

"Being able to come out here, get fish and tackle, and everything. Sit down, fish, relax—it's been great," he said.

And that was the goal of this Sunday's event—to just let the pain and exhaust float away like the bobbers in the water.

Jim Alexander, Arkansas Bass Nation president, said it's what the event symbolizes that means everything.

"You know, during the storm they lost everything they had. We had necessities, but now it's just time for them to have a break and just try to enjoy a little bit about what God has given us," he explained.

So while T.J continues to struggle with his first catch, it's ok because in the process his family is working to get rid of the bigger problems at sea.

The pond was stocked with more than 500 pounds of catfish for the Tackle the Storm event. Many of people who took part end up taking home what they caught for supper.


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