Melvin Lush of Burlington holds up one of his catches on the day he got out in boat in his wheelchair for the first time in four years.
As a former River Warden, Melvin Lush spent a lot of time on the water.
His love for fishing and hunting was evident to those around him, and it was something he had no trouble expressing his feeling for when the time came around for whatever season it happened to be.
However, back in 2009, a paralyzing stroke brought Melvin down to the point where simple everyday tasks became challenging. He was confined to a wheelchair, and suddenly, the outdoor activities that he’d come to enjoy so much over his lifetime, weren’t as easy, and, in some cases, were nearly impossible to accomplish.
For the past four years, Melvin has sat on his front bridge – which has since been converted to a wheelchair ramp – and watched countless boats go out the harbour in his hometown of Burlington, to take part in the annual food fishery. It’s always been a sore spot in the eyes of the old angler, as no doubt his longing to join them grew stronger and stronger every year.
This year, though, one of Melvin’s friends decided to change his situation slightly. George Newbury owns a boat, and enjoyed the recreational food fishery like every other year. This year, while visiting Melvin one day, he concocted a plan that would see the pair on the water together once again.
Leaving his house, down his front ramp, and out the driveway, George and a couple more local helpers brought Melvin to the shoreline where the boat was waiting. With a little care and work, he was lifted in the boat, followed by his wheelchair, and off the crew went out in the bay.
It was the first time in four years that Melvin had found himself on the water. Suddenly the thrill he once experienced came rushing back.
Arriving on the fishing grounds, the crew set out to get their daily quota. Melvin dropped his line, and suddenly felt the tug indicating he’d gotten a bite. He started to pull, using an improvised method that suited his new conditions, and before long, the ugly sculpin reared its head out of the water.
What was normally a sore sight for most fisherman, suddenly became a thrill for the man who had waited so long to catch something, he didn’t care what it was. Melvin’s jubilation was evident then, and for the rest of the trip.
Thankfully, that wasn’t his only catch for the day. Melvin was able to bring in a couple of his own catch on the day, and with the help of his friends and neighbors, got to experience what he’d experienced so many times before, in a whole new way.