For the City Times
Organizers of the Dan Sandstrom Walleye Tournament raised $16,000 for United Way of Portage County’s Learn for Life at their event Saturday, Aug. 13, on the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point.
The tournament attracted a full field of 75 teams competing for $5,870 in prize money. Placing first in the tournament were Matt and Dan Hirman who took home $1,000 for the win. The largest walleye was weighed in by Cliff Jakusz and Joe Kinney who took home $250 for it. Monetary prizes were also awarded to the other top 19 finishers in the tournament. The mystery fish (crappie) category this year was won by Scott Cisewski and Troy Shulfer who won two $100 fishing rods for the accomplishment.
Moose Lodge was the host site where a Kids’ Casting Contest, tournament results and fundraiser were held. Vallin said a record number of kids participated in the casting contest.
“The community support for the tournament, raffle and Kids’ Casting Contest is amazing,” said Rollie Vallin, tournament organizer, who started the event as a tribute to his late brother-in-law, Dan Sandstrom. “To be able to honor Dan through a fishing tournament and then to help the community by raising money for United Way’s Learn for Life program is what he would have wanted.”
All monies raised through the raffle were given to Learn for Life, which is a unique collaboration between United Way and 14 elementary schools in Portage County. The goal of Learn for Life is to increase reading achievement in our community so that children in Portage County, who are able, are proficient in reading by the time they finish third grade.
Laura Pfeil, United Way of Portage County Community Services Manager, said this donation will benefit kids throughout Portage County. “This donation will help a lot of kids in Portage County,” said Pfeil. “Learn for Life tutors worked with more than 200 kids in 2015, and it will help even more in 2016. Thanks to Rollie and his family’s generosity, Learn for Life will continue to help the future of our community through supporting the education of our children.”
Pfeil said the program is still looking for additional tutors who can commit to one hour per week during the school day to help students with their reading proficiency, or those interested in substitute tutoring when available.
People should contact United Way of Portage County at 715-341-6740 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the program or sign up at www.volunteersrock.org.