A local fishing guide has made it his business to help military families during deployment and after tragedy.
The program is called Soldiers' Kids Involved In Fishing Fun, and this Labor Day, two boys who recently lost their father got a chance to go out on the water and do some good old fishing.
11-year old Joseph and 13-year old Dillan pulled a total of 58 fish out of the Stillhouse Lake, one after the other, and sometimes two at time.
It's an adventure meant to help them relax and to honor their dad, SSG Theodore Gibson.
He and their big brother, Thomas, died in a kayaking accident in North Dakota in 2003.
"Both of them perished in the accident, and I just thought it was kind of neat that somebody would offer to take kids out, like he's doing," said Bob Brotherton, the boys' grandfather who helps take care of them.
Bob Maindelle owns Holding The Line Guide Service on Belton and Stillhouse lakes.
He started the program when he noticed the need within military families at his church.
Now, with fundraising support from the Austin Fly Fishers Club, he takes military kids, who are living without one of their parents, out on the water for free.
Maindelle said, "I hope it sends a message to our soldiers that hey, the community around you at Fort Hood has not forgotten you. You're not out of sight, out of mind. We're concerned about what goes on with your kids and family while you're not here."
It's helping kids, like Dillan and Joseph, who through the experience, are also learning to depend more on each other.
Their grandfather said, "It just lets them know that there's somebody out there for them, even if it's they're own brother."
The program is 100 percent catch and release, so it has as little impact on the environment as possible.
Military families interested in the program can click here or call Bob Maindelle at (254)368-7411
Reporter/Photographer: Sophia Stamas firstname.lastname@example.org