- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hank Parker, the former world champion bass fisherman who hosts a cable TV outdoors show, easily could ignore those less fortunate than him, but that’s not how he is. He agreed to become the national spokesman for Outdoors Without Limits, an organization that helps disabled people enjoy activities outdoors.

Said Parker: “I have been very blessed to make a living hunting and fishing, and I’ve seen first-hand that there are many [individuals] with disabilities who deserve to enjoy the outdoors. I’m a ‘people person’ and love the idea of being able to contribute. I hope my efforts with Outdoors Without Limits will encourage sportsmen and [others] to see the need for more outdoor events for the disabled in their community and get involved in creating those opportunities.”

Here’s a little background to prove what kind of man Parker is. Roughly 10 years ago, a friend of mine planned to fish the huge Santee-Cooper lakes in South Carolina. He received Parker’s private North Carolina phone number from an insider who knew the famous bass pro. The phone rang, and Parker answered in a weak voice, saying he had been fighting the flu. He had a fever, felt terrible but patiently listened to the stranger who wanted to fish Lake Moultrie, one of the two giant Santee reservoirs.

Parker said, “I don’t feel real good right now and haven’t been down there, but call this fellow who has just returned from Moultrie. Tell him I said for you to call. He’ll help.”

The man called, and Parker’s contact provided such good information that my friend had the most productive bass outing of his life. He was told where the bass hung out and what types of lures they preferred. It was a dream come true for the newcomer to Moultrie.

But offering a helping hand is typical Parker. He easily could have blown off the guy’s request but didn’t.

So now the tall, blond Carolinian will spread the word on behalf of the Outdoors Without Limits group.

“We couldn’t have a better national spokesman than Hank Parker,” OWL founder Kirk Thomas said.

Thomas started the group last year in hopes of making outdoors recreation the vehicle to help the disabled enjoy the same activities we do. Thomas said OWL chapters are being formed across the United States.

Interested in finding out more about it? Go to outdoorswithoutlimits.net or call Kirk Thomas at 706/788-9878.

Bass club meets - The New Horizon Bass Anglers will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. The public is invited to sit in on a seminar by Walter Froh, the Virginia sales representative for Sport Fishing Ventures Unlimited. Froh will talk about technique-specific lures, such as flipping, swimming, finesse and shaky-head style jigs that will do the job in Virginia waters. For additional details, e-mail cetaylor2@verizon.net or call 703/887-8399.

Boating skills class - The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 7-2 is offering a course for new and experienced boaters. The class, Boating Skills and Seamanship, will meet Mondays and Wednesdays for eight weeks starting Sept. 3 at High Point High School in Beltsville. Among the subjects to be covered are boating terminology, equipment, legal responsibilities, trailering, fueling, boat handling, weather, charts, buoys, knots, lines and radio communications. The instructors are well-trained volunteer members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The cost is $45 for books and charts. For more information, contact Steve after 9 a.m. at 410/531-3313 or e-mail tsktsk10@hotmail.com.

cLook for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com

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