Evan Isbell’s legacy for sharing his love of fishing with others is helping bring smiles to the faces of children participating in Camp Courage, a Helen Keller Experience.
Isbell, 16, a member of the Muscle Shoals Trojan Bass Fishing Team, died in an automobile accident June 23. He was well known for helping special needs children and adults learn to fish through the Timmy Horton Fishing For Kids program and Camp Courage, a Helen Keller Experience.
Isbell, of Tuscumbia looked forward to Fishing for Kids and Camp Courage with as much enthusiasm as he did any of the many bass tournaments he competed in on the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association on other tours.
“Evan was such a nice young man. He would always come up to me after Camp Courage or Fishing for Kids and thank me for letting him help,” said Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau. “He always had a smile on his face when he was helping the children learn how to fish.”
To honor Isbell, Camp Courage, a Helen Keller Experience organizers created the Evan Isbell Angler Award to honor the camper deemed the top angler. Twelve children from throughout Alabama attended this year’s session of Camp Courage Sept. 24-27.
The first recipient the Evan Isbell Angler Award was Zachary Glasgow of Albertville. Glasgow caught a 4 ½ -pound largemouth bass at the Camp Courage fishing day on Pickwick Lake to clinch the prize.
It was the first bass and largest fish that Glasgow, 9, has caught.
“It was huge. It pulled really hard when I was reeling it in. Everybody on the boat was telling me that it was a good one,” Glasgow said. “I loved catching that great big fish.”
Chase Murphy, a close friend of Isbell, presented the special award to Glasgow. Several members of the Muscle Shoals Trojan Bass Fishing Team attended the awards ceremony.
“Evan was always trying to help people. He loved getting to help with Camp Courage and help make the children happy,” Murphy said. “With this award, Evan is still making the Camp Courage kids happy. It is a great way to honor Evan and his parents, Ashley and Connie.”
In addition to fishing, the campers made pottery and candles, explored a farm and nature preserve and learned how to use their abilities to make a difference in the world, just as Helen Keller did.
Camp Courage was sponsored by the Helen Keller Birthplace Foundation, Optometry Cares - The American Optometric Association Foundation, Valley Credit Union, University of North Alabama, Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau, Colbert County Commission, Colbert County Community Development Fund, Siemens Industries, Helen Keller Hospital, Muscle Shoals Fishing Team, Tim Horton Fishing, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association and Alabama Tourism Department, Wind Creek Hospitality, Cypress Cove Farm and George’s 217.