Community mobilizes to help replace stolen fishing gear
Over the past four years, Cody Miles and his father, Jason, have been developing fishing tackle and tackle that would cover just about any lake condition.
Cody, a student at Benton Consolidated High School, was well positioned to continue his success in his final year of high school bass fishing competition.
That was until a trip to compete in a tournament in South Carolina earlier this month.
Although Cody’s father accompanied him on every tournament trip, this year the family of his new fishing partner, freshman Laundered Richardson, stepped up to divide those tasks.
The group took part in a tournament on Lake Hartwell near Anderson, South Carolina, last month. Everything went smoothly. They were checked into a local hotel. With the equipment stowed away in the boat that was parked next to the hotel desk near the security cameras, Cody and the group left to attend the tournament reunion.
âMy husband had packed two big bags of fishing gear to send with Cody,â said his mother-in-law, Kristina Miles. “While Cody and his partner were at the tournament reunion, someone stole the two bags of gear from the boat.”
Kristina said Cody has fished all over the place and has never touched anything until now.
“It took him and his father four years to develop his tackle,” she said. The stolen tackle is valued at around $ 5,000.
âSee what you’ve worked so hard to build disappear in the blink of an eye when you’re 12 hours from home, devastated and heartbroken,â she said.
Apparently there are footage of the theft, but Kristina said the local sheriff claimed it was “not clear enough” to definitively identify the perpetrator.
âObviously the nearest security camera was not working,â she said.
Kristina said the theft was not only against her stepson, but also against the community.
âFamily, parents and the community have helped the children,â she said, paying for the costs of competing in what can be an expensive sport. “If it weren’t for our community and me and Jason scrimping and saving, he wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Cody and Laindree thought they should withdraw from the tournament, but another team showed true sportsmanship, pledging to outfit the pair with enough to allow them to compete.
With the next tournament scheduled for March 27, the Benton community is rallying again to help.
âBarn Bar’s Daniel and Dianna Robinson have stepped up a gear to help replace what has been stolen,â said Kristina. “Adrienne Mason of Country Finance also took it to the next level by donating a Yeti color to draw during fundraising.”
The Barn Bar in Whittington will host a fish fry and fundraiser on March 23, from 6:30 p.m. until the fish are gone. The Miles family will donate and fry the fish in appreciation of the community’s generosity. Twenty percent of all Barn Bar sales will be donated from 3 p.m. until closing. The Yeti raffle draw will take place at 8 p.m. Tickets are available now.
For more information or to donate, contact The Barn Bar at 618-629-2276.