This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
December 11th, 2006

Congratulations. . .

Congratulations are indeed due to everyone who was involved with the wonderful effort to place an Al Campbell Memorial Bench at the state fish hatchery in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The project was a total success - and raised more money than anyone had hoped. Paul Dieter started the project with the idea of our readers donating their hand-tied flies which would be auctioned to raise money for the bench. Hundreds of flies were donated, sorted into manageable groups and photographed by Paul. Elliot Warshaw then received the flies and arranged for the auctions, mostly on eBay. A ton of work by both men - resulting in outstanding success.

There were also some money donations all included in the disbursements below. Once the bench is in place under the tree and within hearing range of the stream, Elliott will take some photos which we will post as well.

Elliott sent the following email to me on Saturday, December 9th:

"The bench has been ordered and paid for. [Cost was $1272 with the concrete pad and tax.] Instead of a trout, they had a graphic of a flyfisher standing in a stream throwing a pretty good loop. That is the graphic that will be used on the left side of the bench. Under it will be a quote from one of Al's articles. It reads, "Many of the unplanned things that happen to us are really blessings". In the middle of the bench, it will read Al Campbell with his birth date and passing date. Under that it will read "Flyfisher - Teacher - Writer - Friend"

The bench will be delivered within the next two months or so. The concrete slab is being poured at the shop and will be transported to the Hatchery. Chuck Rausch, who is doing the bench, has already been out to look at the placement site.

The disbursements will be as follows: $400 to the Black Hills Flyfishers Youth Program; $400 to the 4H Club to restart the Youth Flyfishing program that was killed when pro-Ag administration took over. Since then, a new administration has come into power which is all for any program that develops youth. $400 to KSLT Christian Radio where Al was a very big supporter. I will be doing an On-Air interview with them probably this week. It could very well be Monday late morning or early afternoon. You can hear the broadcast over the internet at The rest of the money, around $246 will be given to the Environmental Teacher at Central High School. He works with his counterpart at Stevens High School and with FFA. He will use the money to buy equipment and supplies to continue the practice of raising Hatchery Trout in the classroom as part of Trout Education program. The flies that were donated will be divided between 4H and the Black Hills Flyfishers (Youth Program).

There will be a Memorial Service for Al at the bench, most likely in March or so after the weather starts to mellow out (if such a thing is possible in SD in March). It will be conducted by Pastor Brent Parker, who also did Al's funeral and was the Pastor at Al's church. There will be plenty of advance notice in case anyone wants to make the trip...."

...Being able to help with this project has been very rewarding and fulfilling. We are all truly blessed to have known Al and had him in our lives. I'll leave you with this thought:

It has been said many times that Al has gone home to flyfish with the Lord. John 20:29 says, "Then Jesus told him, "You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me." If you truly believe it, you too are blessed.

Have a God-filled Christmas.


Thank you one and all. Congratulations! ~ LadyFisher

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