Reigning Bassmaster Classic Champion Hank Cherry of Lincolnton, N.C., is one of several Elite Series anglers helping with hurricane relief efforts by raising funds or volunteering manpower.
After Hurricane Ida devastated areas across south Louisiana and Mississippi, Bassmaster Elite Series pros are helping to raise funds for hurricane relief as well as lending a helping hand to a fellow angler and impacted communities.
Immediately after the hurricane hit, reigning Bassmaster Classic champion Hank Cherry of Lincolnton, N.C., teamed up with his title sponsor, Woods to Water Outdoor Co., to formulate a plan to get down to Louisiana and help those in need. Local sporting goods store The Great Outdoors in Cherryville, N.C., was able to lend Cherry a massive trailer to load up goods to haul down to the Bayou State.
“I just felt like I needed to do something,” Cherry said. “I want to use my platform to help those in need right now.”
The response that Cherry and company received after posting about their efforts on social media was incredible. The local community donated an overwhelming number of supplies to send with the North Carolinian — which include water, food, tarps, charcoal, roofing equipment, diapers, paper towels and countless other necessities. Cherry has also created a GoFundMe relief account for the communities that were affected.
Initially, the goal was to reach $5,000. That number was reached within the first day. The plan is to keep the account open to donations and wait to use the funds until they know exactly what is needed most.
“Our area is so great,” he said. “We’ve had people all across the board reach out to help, which has been really cool to see. It may end up that we need two trailers to haul everything by the time we leave.
“The people down there have been devastated by this storm,” he continued. “We’re just trying to do as much as we can to help. Really, it’s just the right thing to do.”
Cherry is heading toward the Gulf Coast to meet up with fellow Elite Series pro Brock Mosley, of Collinsville, Miss., who is currently assisting their Elite Series roommate Tyler Rivet and his family in Raceland, La. Raceland, in Lafourche Parish, was one of the areas hit the hardest as Category 4 Ida moved across the area on Sunday.
“It’s not just about Tyler,” Mosley said. “It’s his entire family. We consider his family our family.
“I was in touch with Tyler the entire day when the hurricane landed. I got a hold of him while I was at Lowe’s and got them a load of supplies and let them know I would bring them as soon as I could.”
Other Elite pros are also joining in the fight to help rebuild Louisiana. Derek Hudnall of Denham Springs, La., and Caleb Sumrall of New Iberia, La., have both provided hands-on aid to both neighbors and those in need. Georgia pro Marc Frazier has set up a fundraising link through his Facebook page to buy tarps, water and supplies for Thibodaux, La., his wife’s hometown and the home of Nicholls State University, where he played college baseball.
“Hurricane Ida just demolished this town and the surrounding areas,” Frazier posted on social media. “Luckily our family and friends are okay, but people suffered lots of damage. Thibodaux is a great town and it will be a long road to recovery.”
Local officials have warned residents of the hardest-hit areas that it may be weeks before power is restored.