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Anglers catch the joy of fishing at Newton Yacht Club

Peter Moore (left) and Matt McConnell show their freshly caught bass.KAITO AU

For those who attended the New England Paralyzed Veterans of America Bass Trail’s 22d annual fishing tournament at the Newton Yacht Club June 5, the event meant much more than who got the biggest catch. Nurses, boat captains, and members of the Nam Knights Motorcycle Club volunteered to help anglers who are disabled onto wheelchair accessible docks and boats for a day of fishing.

“To see an empty wheelchair on a dock,” said Sherri Brosseau, a licensed nursing assistant and volunteer at the event. “That in itself is everything.”

Mark “Tank” Prescott (left) pushes NEPVA sports director Mike Guilbault up a ramp after a day of fishing.KAITO AU
One at a time, anglers and their boat captains go out into the Charles River in hopes of returning with the largest total weight of bass.KAITO AU
Professional angler Craig Casella, who volunteered as a boat captain at the tournament for the first time, greets volunteer Dan Kenney.KAITO AU
Nam Knights member and co-founder of the NEPVA Bass Trail Ray “Hunter” Brunelle pulls an angler up a ramp. Brunelle said the tournaments have been helpful to him as a Vietnam veteran. “It took a lot of the hurt,” he said.KAITO AU
Empty wheelchairs sit on the dock as they await the disabled anglers’ return from fishing.KAITO AU
From left: Volunteers Sherri Brosseau, Mark Fournier, and Chris Nielsen played music while they waited for anglers to return.KAITO AU
Oscar Toce, who served as an Army Sergeant and lost both of his legs to diabetes, stands while volunteer Megan Nigrelli sings the national anthem. He said Lori Chase, a NEPVA Bass Trail board member, helped change his life. “I was having a lot of issues, and it was her and friends that got me back on the straight and narrow,” he said.KAITO AU
A Nam Knight member holds down a boat to keep its balance while others help an angler off and onto the dock.KAITO AU

Volunteers give a toast to late co-founder of the NEPVA bass trail, Eugene “Tiny” LaFontaine, Jr., who died in 2020. Front from left: Sherri Brosseau, Avis Wade, Sony Fernandes, Mark Fournier. Back from left: Lori Chase, Ray “Hunter” Brunelle, Stephanie Kealey, Ernie Wade.KAITO AU
Registered nurse and volunteer Sony Fernandes (left) assists angler Tony Rinaldi as he walks down the dock upon his return.KAITO AU
Vincent “Porkchop” Willmott assists Jim Wallack, the bass trail liaison to the NEPVA, after his return from fishing.KAITO AU
The last angler to return from fishing, Oscar Toce, greets members of Nam Knights before he is assisted off of the boat.KAITO AU
An angler’s catch is drained of water to ensure only the fish’s weight is measured. After weighing the bass, anglers posed for photos before the fish were released back into the river.KAITO AU
Peter Moore (left) and Matt McConnell show their freshly caught bass. Injured in a motorcycle crash, Moore said he has been looking forward to getting out on the water. “These tournaments are some of the best fishing we get to do every year,” he said.KAITO AU
Licensed nursing assistant and volunteer Sherri Brosseau writes the individual weights of each team’s catch on a scoreboard.KAITO AU
Third place winners Nathan McEleney (left) and Jeff Kenney pose for a photo with their trophies.KAITO AU
First place winners Bean Lefebvre (left) and Jim Halpin (middle) show their catches.KAITO AU
Members of Nam Knights Motorcycle Club and boaters stand still as volunteer Megan Nigrelli (right) sings the national anthem.KAITO AU

Kaito Au can be reached at newtonreport@globe.com.