Bob Behrle, looked over while unloading his truck at a C.A.S.T. for Kids event and saw three children and their mom. They reminded him of his own three kids, about the same age span with two boys and one girl. Unlike his family, the little girl Alexy has down syndrome. Bob thought, “It would be neat if I would get that family,” as he headed out towards the water.

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Bob’s wish came true. On a sunny day at Lake Guntersville, Alabama in 2015, Bob had the joy of taking Alexy, Jayden, Braxton and their mom on his boat. He made sure each child got to reel in a fish that day. After the award’s ceremony, Bob took them all to Walmart to buy the boys a fishing rod and reel just like Alexy had received as a participant at the event.

During the time spent fishing, Bob had learned the children had lost their Dad to cancer. As they said good-bye, he could tell the oldest really wanted to give him a hug to thank him but was too shy. Bob leaned down and asked if he could give Braxton a hug. A great day of fishing ended with the gentleness of a fatherly embrace.

A few months later, Bob invited the family over for an early Christmas celebration. They shared a meal, opened a few gifts Bob had bought for the children and shared the warmth and love of the season. “Life wasn’t easy for me growing up,” Bob recalls, so he opened his heart wide to help make life easier for someone else.

Bob couldn’t make it to the event in 2016 but he kept up with the family on Facebook until 2017 when he made sure he didn’t miss the event. It was a sweet reunion for all as they took to the water, fishing poles in hand on Lake Guntersville this year.

It’s boat captains like Bob who give the gift of time and kindness to touch lives at a C.A.S.T. for Kids event and beyond. The relationships formed while experiencing the thrill of catching a fish create a strong bond that carries from year to year. These recreational events connect people in communities as they make fun memories together that last a lifetime.

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