Are you a member of this prestigious angler's club?Submitted: 07/17/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

WOODRUFF - Nobody knows exactly when or by whom a prestigious anglers club was founded here in the Northwoods. But you can bet you know someone in it.

"Probably, I'm going to guess seven or eight times," says Kurt Justice.

You could call the fishing guide a platinum member of an exclusive Northwoods angler's club. But a trophy Musky won't get you a membership. To join this club you have to catch.... yourself, or other people.

"Oh, we at least see three or four a day," says Carrie Kehoe, a Howard Young emergency room Nurse.

Ministry Howard Young Medical Center and Eagle River Memorial Hospital treated so many patients with fish hooks stuck in them, they started the People Catcher's Club.

"So this is our People Catchers Club card that everybody gets. They get a name, and their number and what year it occurred. And here is the Ministry Healthcare bobber," says Kehoe.

Last season alone 105 people joined the club. Adults are members... kids are members... dogs are even members. Treating all those members can take some unorthodox methods.

"A lot of times we'll use a wire cutter to actually cut the hook away from the lure. And then we've got good ole' vice grips," says Dr. Roderick Brodhead, Ministry EMS Medical Director.

While these injuries can be serious, most of them aren't. And the stories behind them are the stuff that legends are made of.

"It was a husband and wife team and they were up here just visiting. She caught the hook right in the center of his head. And as they were trying to get it out she sat on one and got it hooked onto her buttocks," says Kehoe.

"Augie being a puppy was very curious and came over to see what I was doing as I was trying to pick the hooks out. He stuck his nose down, yanked back and got one of the hooks right through his nose. As he did so one of the hooks went right through my thumb. So he started bawling, pulling me around the house," says Justice.

Justice hears all kinds of stories at his sport shop. It's common for people to renew their membership; some even manage to join twice in one day! Justice wasn't the only person to tell this story.

"We always ask people if they want to hang their lure on the wall of fame or if they want to take the lure. In this case the gentleman said it was his favorite lure and he was taking it along. He walked out of the ER and threw the lure on the seat of his truck and then climbed in, and came back five minutes later with it in his buttock," says Dr. Brodhead.

The People Catchers Club helps make people, especially kids, a lot happier leaving the ER than they were coming in.

"They're basically scared. And so we try to make it a little better experience for them so that they won't be scared the next time it happens," says Dr. Brodhead.

And since the Northwoods is a fisherman's playground, the odds are good there will be a next time.

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On Saturday nearly 600 volunteers from the Northwoods decided to help feed some of those children. 

The "Food for Kidz" organization, invited people to Lakeland Union High School, to help package non- perishable goods.

 The packages will be donated worldwide and to nearby food pantries.

Within the past eight years volunteers have packaged one million meals.

 Last year was the first year the organization started donating to local food pantries. 

This year volunteers will give 30,000 meals to the Northwoods community.

"It's just the recurring exuberance of the people that come in and do the packing we have many, repeat people that come year after year," said "Food for Kidz" Co-chairman John Breiten. 

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The Food for Kidz Minocqua committee will lend a helping hand to change that Saturday morning.

Lakeland Union High School's common area will transform into a full-blown assembly line.

Food for Kidz volunteers will pour and pack ingredients into plastic bags.

The goal is 175,000 packed meals.

Food for Kidz needs more volunteers by tomorrow to meet that goal.

"If you haven't experienced this, come out and try it and you'll go away with just a great feeling," said Food for Kidz co-chair John Breiten.

Kids and adults of all ages are welcome to walk in to volunteer.

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Walk-in volunteers are welcome to attend either packing shift tomorrow morning.

The first shift is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The second shift is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you can't make it out to Lakeland Union High School Saturday, donations are always welcome.

Call John Breiten at 715-686-7570 for more info.

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