Written by Adrianne Madden
April 7, 2008
Here at the National Fisherman offices, we're getting ready to shove off to Fish Expo Atlantic in Providence, R.I., tomorrow.
Our fearless leader, Editor in Chief Jerry Fraser, has packed up all the goodies for the NF booth, including plenty of copies of our May issue for all our adoring fans to peruse. The May issue, of course, salutes our 2008 Highliner Award winners, Tilman Gray, of Avon, N.C., Rodney Avila, of New Bedford, Mass., and Craig Pendleton of Saco, Maine.
The three are being honored for their exemplary work on behalf of the fishing industry at the annual Highliner dinner on Wednesday night. As I write, Jerry is polishing up his Highliner dinner remarks and burnishing them to a warm glow, and reminding himself to make sure the Highliner plaques are in his possession to cart down to Providence.
I'm looking forward to the Highliner dinner, and not just because scallops and prime rib are on the menu. (Those are just the perks.)
No, what makes the Highliner dinner special is the collection of people in the room — the three new members of the Highliner club as well as the past recipients who come year after year, regardless of what coast the dinner is held on.
It's seeing the pride each year's recipients take in being named a Highliner. It's seeing the joy on the faces of their family members as their favorite fisherman is honored in front of his peers.
Most of all it's listening to all the Highliners. Every year at the dinner, there's always opportunity for any Highliner who wishes to speak to do so. I'm always struck by their commitment to and their passion for this industry. Fishing isn't just a way for them to earn a living; it's an endeavor that fulfills them.
And in an era of buyouts seeking to remove fishermen from the water, it makes me wonder why anyone would want fewer people around who are so passionate about their life's work instead of more of them.
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