As a Fort Bragg Soldier, Spc. Jose Rojas, of the 27th Engineer Battalion, spends a great deal of time with his brothers-in-arm.
Saturday, he spent some quality time with his 8-year-old daughter, Ariana, at the Armed Services YMCA Family Fishing Derby, in Fayetteville.
“It’s bonding time honestly,” said Rojas. “I try to make the weekends pretty much for my kids.”
The annual derby helps them with bonding as a Family event, said Lisa Kotson, ASYMCA.
Held from 9 a.m. to noon at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center at Lake Rim, it also brings Families together for outdoor activity.
For $10 per child, Families were provided with a rod, bait and T-shirt. Adults were allowed to fish for free as long as they were assisting a child.
So, how did Ariana feel about catching two fish by early morning?
“I felt happy and proud of myself,” she beamed.
Sgt. Joshua Hawley, Company A, 204th Parachute Infantry Regiment, helped his son, David, 4, to catch the youngster’s very first fish.
He told David, “I’m proud. This is bigger than my first fish.”
“He flops at me,” David said.
“We really enjoyed it as time to bond and come together and teach your children how to get along, meet other people,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nathaniel Mummert, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Brigade. “It’s a larger experience where they can learn to fish where it’s more controlled.”
Lt. Col. Mike Flowers, U.S. Army Forces Command, wife, Anita and daughter, Lili, 2, seemed to enjoy the derby.
“It’s quality time. It’s something different. We like the quiet …,” said Anita.
The derby seemed to be a Family-first event.
Mike said, “I just need her to have a good time.”
For more information about the Fort Bragg ASYMCA, visit https://www.asymca.org/fort-bragg-home. For more information about John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, visit www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Education-Centers/Pechmann.