Army Angler Lands Big Donation for Animal Shelter
BY JOHN CHAPPELL
Army Sgt. Maj. Jamey Caldwell was on a mission of mercy last week, and he brought the family along.
With help from Bill Smith at his Southern Pines Ford dealership, the Special Operations Command soldier had put on a free seminar showing how he uses space-age technology and military training to, well, catch more fish.
A crowd showed up, and they raised money for a favorite charity, the Moore County Humane Society. Caldwell bought food and supplies with the cash - enough to load his pickup with 50 pound bags of chow along with pet toys and other items for dogs and cats.
"The turnout at Bill Smith Ford was phenomenal," he said. "A lot of people showed up. We raised a ton of money for it, a lot of exposure. We went to PetSmart - we wanted to stay local with everything."
Caldwell, his wife, Stacey, and 3-year-old daughter, Payton, trucked everything to the Carthage center on N.C. 22.
Megan Presley met the Caldwells and helped unload and carry it all in with help from Cabel Chafflinch of the center. They stacked everything in the front hall to start with, then Chafflinch took to lugging dog food to that section of the building 100 pounds at a time.
Payton - her mom following - made for the kitty room straight away.
Her dad finished unloading feed sacks, then Presley assembled the Caldwells for a photo. This won't be their last visit.
"This is the first of many," he said. "We are looking to do at a minimum four events just like this at Bill Smith Ford."
Caldwell and Smith mean to make the seminars a regular feature - at least when the sergeant major is off duty and not off casting a line. He's semi-pro now and will be a full-time professional sport fisherman after retiring from military service. The response at this first seminar thrilled him.
"We had a lot of people, a lot of questions, a lot of real positive stuff from it," Caldwell said. "Bill Smith himself was out there cooking hot dogs. He is so hands-on. He fishes, too, you know. A lot of them were interested in tactics for this area - what to use when conditions get tough."
When the fish don't bite.
"You go out to have a good day of fishing, and the bite is real slow," he said. "What do you do then? Usually, I just downsize. I go from using bigger baits down to smaller baits. You just sloooooow down. You almost have to put that bait right in front of the fish's nose to tempt him versus the fish coming five or ten feet toward you."
Hungry fish are better biters.
"When fish are real aggressive they will come for your bait," he said. "If they are not - and it is a slow day of fishing - you have to slow down. I grew up fly fishing, used to tie my own flies. I've been to the mountains and done some fly fishing, and I still enjoy fly fishing; but most of my time now is taking up with bass fishing in the tournaments."
At future seminars Caldwell will cover different topics.
"We are going to bring in more stuff, have it on a Saturday and make it longer," he said. "This will have been the first of four events for this year."
Presley said the Humane Society can always use donations.
An Army wife from Kentucky - visiting family in Moore County while her husband was deployed - arrived with her own contribution: an orange and white mama cat with half a dozen fresh kittens. She'd noticed the neighborhood stray was expecting and found a place in their garage for the delivery.
Three-year-old Payton would have been ready to take all of them, but the family dog back home has registered a veto on cats. She didn't complain, just petted and petted. The cats purred.
"The kittycats are all safe," Payton said, looking at the cages as the cats looked back. "They are all safe. Awwwwww."
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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