By Kathryn Menue


On Tuesday, Nov. 22, Sandy Bonacorsi paid a special visit to the Veterans Assistance Commission of Boone County (VACBC) office on behalf of the Coon Creek Casters. Bonacorsi arrived at the office at 12:45 p.m. to present the VACBC with a check for $580.

This was the Coon Creek Casters first donation to the VACBC, which came with much appreciation from the VACBC staff.

“Thank you very much,” VACBC Superintendent Robert Ryder said as Bonacorsi handed him the check. “Every penny of it [the $580 donation] will go to local vets.”

Ryder elaborated and said that the money would be used toward necessities for local veterans such as heating and food. None of the money goes to administrative purposes; it all goes to honorably discharged veterans in Boone County.

This donation to aid veterans of Boone County came from funds raised at the Coon Creek Casters 2016 Fishing for the Future Banquet. The 18th annual banquet took place on Saturday, Nov. 12 at the UAW Hall, located on Chrysler Drive in Belvidere. Fishing for the Future was open to the public and drew in crowds of over 200 people with 50 Coon Creek Casters’ volunteers working the event.

“It was a big hit,” Bonacorsi said.

The banquet included a dinner and a silent auction, with the promise that all the revenue raised would remain locally.

“One hundred percent stays in Boone County,” Bonacorsi said.

In prior years, Coon Creek Casters would donate to different organizations dedicated to fighting breast cancer or prostate cancer, but wanted to switch it up this year to donate to veterans. They also wanted to focus on a local organization, which is where the Veterans Assistance Commission of Boone County came in.

“I decided every year for our banquet we need to step it up a notch, so I decided let’s do the veterans,” Bonacorsi said.

The veteran appreciation theme reigned throughout the banquet on Nov. 12.

According to Bonacorsi, the banquet had a military table of patriotic-themed silent auction items. A marine veteran, Eric Smith, attending the event won an item from the table: a red, white, and blue lapghan.

“Everyone went bonkers when they heard a marine got it [the lapghan],” Bonacorsi said.

Not only did Smith win the lapghan, but he also received American flag cookies and a mug that read “Freedom for All.”

Bonacorsi said he was so thrilled he said, “This just keeps getting better and better.”

Moments like these are why the Coon Creek Casters love giving back to the community. This annual banquet is what funds their efforts.

At the 2016 Fishing for the Future Banquet, the Coon Creek Casters raised $20,000 for local organizations and events. This money will go to fund not only the VACBC, but also for the Jerry Parsons scholarship fund for a graduating senior from each Boone County high school, for stocking rivers and ponds with fish, for the Carp-a-thon, for teaching children how to ice fish the first Saturday in February, for teaching children how to fish the first Saturday in June, for new tackle boxes and poles for children at fishing events, for Hooked-on-Fishing, for donating items to underprivileged children at Christmastime, and for local organizations and churches.

For more information on the Coon Creek Casters, find them on Facebook.

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