MATLACHA, Fla.- The 10th annual David Lee Root Memorial Fishing Tournament Saturday raised money for the Lee Memorial Trauma Center.
It is the only trauma center on the west coast of Florida between Tampa and Miami, and is not funded through tax dollars.
The Root family hosts the fishing tournament at their Matlacha business each year, in honor of their son David Junior, who died in a car accident in 2001.
He never made it to the trauma center, but his brother Dustin did, after a car accident of his own just a year later.
It was then that the family decided to host the fishing tournament to benefit the center that saved Dustin's life.
David Root Senior says David Jr. wanted to be a firefighter and always enjoyed helping people. "This is a way he can still help people, even though he's not here," he said. "It helped us through the grieving process when we first started doing it, now we just carried it on. It's great to see the people come out and support it."
Anglers could enter the tournament at $50 a person. It is a catch, photo, release tournament that has raised more than $100,000 over 10 years.
The tournament also included a BBQ and raffle prizes.
Duane Higgins is the director of development for the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation, and he says the trauma center is vital to this area, and requires millions of dollars to operate each year. He says the Root family's support is inspiring.
"It's not just the victim, the injured person who faces the trauma but it really affects the families. So they have a real passion to help those who go through this process and we're very excited for their support for this tournament," he says.
For more information on how you can help support the trauma center, call 239-343-6950.