COVID 19 PUTS A MASK ON ANNUAL BANQUET

By: Glynn Harris

            The ongoing and seemingly never ending Coronavirus pandemic has put a mask on, social distanced itself from and quarantined virtually not only Louisiana but the whole universe as well. We are having to adapt to a new way of living with no real end in sight.

            In years prior to 2020, summer was the time when plans were being put together for events that this year are just flat-out not going to happen. For example, the inability to hold annual banquets for groups like Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation has put a serious damper on plans going forward for these popular and worthwhile organizations.

One of the biggest local summer time fund raising events over the past few years has been the Lincoln Parish chapter of Whitetails Unlimited.

This organization, only a few years out of the gate since being formed, has captured the interest not only in area deer hunters but has turned some heads nationally. Special recognition in the form of national awards has been granted to the group not only for the number of attendees at the banquet but for funds raised.

I have been fortunate to attend and promote these annual affairs and have come away seriously impressed with not only the number of folks attending but the air of enthusiasm I have seen. It has been seriously amazing.

When the Lincoln Parish chapter was formed, Ruston’s Glen Scriber served as president, a role he handed over to his predecessor, Daniel Taylor after last year’s record-setting banquet. Taylor was set to pick up where Scriber had left off with even more plans for keeping the local banquet on top of the heap.

Then came something nobody saw coming nor were we prepared for, COVID 19.                 

The annual banquet is normally held each year in late summer but because the pandemic put the skids on large gatherings, the banquet will not be held this year.

            Will the local chapter just fade away and become a distant memory? Not so, says chapter president Taylor.

            “We have had some large banquets the last couple of years that has allowed us to have left over funds to be used in our community to promote the type of activities we sponsored before the virus hit,” said Taylor. 

            “Our local 4-H kids are involved in such activities as archery and shotgun competition and before we got involved, the number of kids involved was not so great because they couldn’t afford the expenses. Once we supported them with such things as targets, arrows, clay pigeons, etc., a large number of kids are now participating and thankfully, we will be able to continue our support this year,” he said.

            “Another activity in which we have been involved with support is Med-Camps which each summer holds a week-long camp at Camp Alabama for kids with special needs. These kids get to do things like learning archery, canoeing and such and we’re really proud to help make this happen.”

            The local chapter has been financially involved in other activities such as providing a wheelchair for a wildlife enforcement agent who was shot and partially paralyzed while on the job.

            Even though there will be no banquet this year, we are thankful that financial support for these worthwhile activities are forthcoming this year. It is our hope and our prayers that this horrible menace will soon fade away and things can soon return to a semblance of normalcy.

“One of the most popular local fund raising event, the Whitetails Unlimited banquet, will not be held this year because of Coronavirus concerns.” Glynn Harris photo

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