The Gene Doyle Memorial Foundation awards adventure scholarships to Collier County students in honor of the memory and adventurous spirit of Robert Eugene “Gene” Doyle, III (1976-1996). The scholarships are funded through the Gene Doyle Fishing Tournament, and this year’s award ceremony was an evening filled with so many families and friends.
Sean Morton, a past chairman for the event, said he’s been fishing for as long as he can remember, but it’s more than just the fishing that brings anglers like Morton to this tournament. He loves being disconnected from cell service, playing outdoors on the water with family and friends and making great memories – just what the foundation, scholarshipand tournament promote.
One past scholarship recipient spoke of her 22-day adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains, backpacking, rock climbing and whitewater canoeing. She laughed at how difficult it was at first to not have a cell phone. The three 2016 scholarship winners will attend a 12-day Alaska mountaineering school, a 15-day Outward Bound Washington sea kayaking and alpine backpacking adventure, and a 15-day Outward Bound Maine coast sailing trip.
In his third year as chairman, Jamie French admits that these scholarship winners are the motivation behind his commitment to the tournament and the foundation. “Sure, it’s about the fishing, but more than that, it’s about experiencing life. This tournament funds the scholarships that sendlocal Collier County juniors, seniors and college freshmen on life-changing adventures every year.”
This tournament is not just supported by the people who love to fish, either. Several elected officials attended the awards banquet and sponsored trophies. Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala noted, “It warmed my heart to see how many young families worked together to support their young fishermen. The solid family relationships, all starting with fishing, impressed me.”
The tournament is in its 19th year, and you don’t have to fish in order to attend the awards dinner or support the foundation.
For more information, to view this year’s tournament results, or to support a tournament sponsor, please visit the website: www.genedoyle.org. Hope to see you next year!