Eddie Gill IV is a fisherman on a mission.
The Grace College student — an avid angler since his grandfather taught him how to fish as a child — noticed the lack of diversity in boating and fishing and aims to do something about it.
“I realized we need to focus on promoting diversity to those who don’t realize they are dissuading others from participating, and to communities where fishing may not be part of their family’s tradition,” Gill said in a statement.
Next Tuesday, the “Journey for a Cause” will kick off at Golconda Marina in Golcanda, Ill., the start of a 10-day, 900-plus mile boat trip with the goal of creating awareness of the joys of fishing and boating. The itinerary leads from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico.
“The outdoors is for everyone,” Gill told Trade Only Today. “There’s such a sense of joy being on a boat. The goal of [Journey for a Cause] is to bring people together. I hope I can be a source for inspiration for others.”
Last year, Gill shared his thoughts on promoting diversity and inclusion in the marine space with Grace College president Dr. Bill Katip, who happens to be friends with Correct Craft CEO Bill Yeargin. Katip encouraged Gill to reach out to Yeargin, which led to Parker Boats (a Correct Craft subsidiary) sponsoring the trip by donating its 2520 XLD.
“The donation came fairly easy,” Parker sales and marketing director Jeff Donahue told Trade Only Today. “What Eddie is trying to do is to bring people into the boating community.”
“Parker Boats is proud to support such an important cause of inclusion,” said Parker Boats president Scott Bauer. “Eddie [is] going on a journey to share the benefits and encourage an atmosphere that is welcoming to all.”
Along the way, Eddie and the crew will emphasize the physical and mental health benefits of fishing — as well as how to begin to get involved in fishing and boating.
The Journey for a Cause itinerary can be seen here.
To make a donation, click here.
Gill and his team will post on social media channels during the 10-day trip.