BRACEVILLE, Ill. — Forty years ago, Braidwood Lake was little more than a scarred patchwork of abandoned strip-mines. Today, it’s a flourishing natural ecosystem, brimming with trophy size bass, catfish and other species. This was the backdrop for the 16th Annual Braidwood “Fishing for a Cure” charity bass tournament, which brings out anglers from across the Midwest. This year’s event raised more than $50,000 for the Braidwood Area Healthy Community Coalition (BAHCC), a frontrunner in the local battle against drug and alcohol abuse. Since its inception, the event has raised more than half a million dollars for local charities.
Braidwood Lake was originally constructed as a cooling water source for Braidwood Generating Station, one of six high-performing nuclear facilities in Illinois owned and operated by Exelon Generation. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources acquired the lake from Commonwealth Edison in 1999 under the landmark Open Land Trust and it has served the plant and the community well ever since as a recreational destination for fishing, boating, hunting and wildlife habitat preservation.
"This tournament is a great example of Exelon Generation’s commitment to protecting the environment and serving the community," said Bryan Hanson, president and chief nuclear officer of Exelon Generation. “Our nuclear facilities safely and reliably power the grid with carbon-free electricity while our employees power the community, raising money for great civic causes. This was a tremendous event for all involved.”
“The funds raised by Exelon Generation and Braidwood employees this year will help us expand programs and services to save lives,” said Pete Dell’Aquila, project coordinator for the Braidwood Area Healthy Community Coalition. “It means the world to us and it opens up a lot of opportunities for us to educate a new generation on drug abuse and addiction.”
This year's winner's podium was a family affair as five of the top 10 finishing teams were either husband and wife or father and son duos. The top 10 finishers shared more than $10,000 in prize money. First-place winners in the charity team bass tournament were Nick Stuedemann of Morris and Matt Leimbach of Braidwood. Second place went to father-son duo Rickey and Aaron Alexander, both of New Lenox. The husband-wife team of Kyle and Dany Danhausen of Kankakee reeled in 3rd place. Dave and Melissa Sanders of Monee were 4th and Joe Sanderson and Tim Krantz finished 5th.
Other top-10 winners were: Jay O’Connell and Karl Carpenter in sixth; Dave and Elizabeth Schultz of Wilmington in 7th; Steve Smith and Ed Withaeger in 8th; Joe Doris and Bill Matthews in 9th place; and father-son team Anthony and Mike Fazio in 10th place. A very special “thank you” goes out to the Sanders and Schultz teams, who donated their prize money back to charity!
Kids Fishing Derby Results
Earlier in the day, at Exelon Generation’s Kids Fishing Derby at the Godley Park District pond, Brody Alexander, 8, of Essex, caught the largest fish, a whopping 22 inches. Cody Nelson, 3, of Coal City, caught the smallest, measuring 5.5 inches.
The top three winners in each of the age divisions for the Kids Derby were:
- Ages 5 and under – Cody Nelson, 3, Coal City (1st place); Addy Alexander, 5, Essex (2ndplace); Jeff Johnson, 4, Coal City (3rd place).
- Ages 6-8 – Carter Wix, 6, Diamond (1st place); Brody Alexander, 8, Essex (2nd place); Colton Boucher, 7, Lockport (3rd place).
- Ages 9-12 – Ethan Mann, 12, Braidwood (1st place); Bret Cavanaugh, 10, Braidwood (2ndplace); Danielle Wyatt, 11, Shorewood (3rd place).
Local sponsors for the tournament included “D” Construction, Berkot’s Super Foods, Monical’s, Republic Services, Brieser Construction, SCI Corporation, Midwest Conveyor & Fab, Northern Illinois Steel Supply Co. and Rachke Piping and Mechanical.
Braidwood Generating Station is one of six high-performing Illinois nuclear facilities owned and operated by Exelon Generation, and it provides clean, safe and reliable power to more than two million residents and businesses.
Braidwood is located 20 miles southwest of Joliet, Ill., and has been producing carbon-free electricity since 1988. Nearly half of Illinois’s electricity, and more than 90 percent of Illinois’ carbon-free power, is supplied by Exelon Generation’s nuclear power stations.