Helping children of fallen soldiers

D.J. Dzierzanowski takes a break with the kids he was a guide for.

D.J. Dzierzanowski takes a break with the kids he was a guide for.

Maddie Mata, Managing Editor

Since he was a toddler, junior Dale “DJ” Dzierzanowski and his dad would cast their rods and spend the whole day fishing together. However, unlike Dzierzanowski, there are children that don’t have the opportunity to spend time with their father or mother.

Gold Star Children is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 to raise awareness for children who have lost a parent or both parents to combat. In August, Dzierzanowski acted as a fishing guide for the Gold Star Children’s fishing trip of the year.

“I was the only fishing guide under the age of 50, so I think it was nice for them to have someone closer to their age to fish with,” Dzierzanowski said. “Each time the kids had to choose the boat they wanted to fish on, they chose mine and didn’t want to get off.”

Dzierzanowski got his first fishing pole at four years old and he has been fishing ever since.

“The summer we got DJ his first pole, my parents were visiting from New York,” Dzierzanowski’s mother Jodiann Dzierzanowski said. “We hadn’t seen him for a couple of hours and realized he wasn’t in his room. After looking everywhere else, we found him outside in the heat practicing casting his brand-new rod.”

After catching 50 fish on a fishing trip Dzierzanowski took with his friend, junior Justin Rozier, Dzierzanowski was asked to guide.

“Justin’s mother and step-father are involved with the Gold Star community,” Mrs. Dzierzanowski said. “They were so impressed with DJ’s fishing abilities that they asked him to be the fishing guide for this year’s fishing trip.”

For a whole three-day weekend, Dzierzanowski guided six Gold Star Children in fishing.

“The kids knew a little bit about fishing but not much,” Dzierzanowski said. “When I taught them something new, I felt good and it was a rewarding experience.”

Once the weekend was over, Dzierzanowski was asked to also help with the hunting trip.

“A couple days after the fishing trip Justin’s parents called me and asked me to help with the hunting trip,” Dzierzanowski said. “I’m super excited to help the kids and see what they have on their property.”