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Pine Island residents open their hearts, help teen

By Staff | Sep 6, 2016

ED FRANKS New Pine Island resident Davon Diehl had his fishing gear stolen at the pier at Pine Island Marina but after an outpouring of support from islanders, he’s back fishing with new donated gear.

Fourteen-year-old Davon Diehl loves to fish. Every day, before the school year began, and every weekend he can be found on the pier at Pine Island Marina. On Sunday, Aug. 21, Davon took a bathroom break from fishing. He was only gone a few minutes and when he returned someone had stolen his fishing rod and tackle box.

A friend, Jacob Holzapfel, noticed a very distraught Davon sitting on a bench.

“His face was flushed and he looked like he was crying,” Holzapfel said. “He asked me ‘What do I do about my tackle box?’ I went to the bathroom and when I came back it wasn’t here.”

“I had only known Davon for a few weeks,” Holzapfel said. “It was the end of the day when Davon would walk the 1.3 miles home. I drove him back to his house, he was very upset and so was I. I knew I could help out with some fishing gear so I put a few things together. But I also decided to post something on The Pine Island Prospect Facebook page.”

The original post was dated Thursday, Aug. 25, asked Pine Islanders for help:

“I hope you have the kindness in your heart to donate a piece of fishing gear to Davon so he can keep fishing and gain faith in his community. He needs all the tackle in a box and he could use a cast net, he walks so he could use a crappy bike and if anyone has a old beat kayak it would mean the world to him. This is a good kid, I have no question that he will be a great man one day and he deserves all the kindness in the world.” – Thanks, Capt. Jacob Holzapfel

“We just moved here a few weeks ago,” Brandy Diehl said. “After the theft, Davon didn’t seem interested in going fishing on Saturday morning. He was so apprehensive but I encouraged him to go and he decided to walk over it’s a 1.3-mile walk. Within the first hour or so, someone came by with some fishing gear and he called me so excited. Then a short while later someone delivered a brand new bicycle that still had the tags on it. By the time we came over he had six fishing poles, a cast net and the bicycle.”

“I thought people would respond but this turned out so much better than I expected,” Hotzafel said. “Within a few hours I could see people were responding to my post and by Saturday there were 50 75 posts on the one thread.”

“In all Davon had multiple offers to go fishing and so much fishing gear we had to come over to help him bring everything home,” Brandy Diehl said.

“We come from a small town in Ohio and came here for my work I fix air conditioners,” Davon’s step-dad Todd Lurty said. “I was worried about the kids getting away from that small town atmosphere but I need a metropolitan area for work. Once we discovered Pine Island, I thought this would be perfect for us. The small town feel with the metropolitan area right next door – and now this. People are so generous here I can’t believe it.”

Licensed Capt. Jeff Hall stopped by to offer a free fishing trip.

“I heard about Davon on the Pine Island Prospect,” Hall said. “I’ve only been on Pine Island for a year but when my mom died suddenly, my neighbors were there for me. This is just my way of paying it forward. I’d like to take Davon and the family out fishing.”

“Last week someone stole my crappy freshwater stuff and my $17.99 Walmart pole,” Davon said. “And now there’s $200 worth of fishing poles, reels and so much other stuff. I can’t even say how grateful I am for all of this. I’d like to thank my friend Jacob, too.”

“I was afraid this would effect him permanently but this outpouring restores your faith in people,” Lurty said.

“This is just unbelievable,” Brandy said. “It’s just a huge blessing, I think Davon’s still in shock. This is such a beautiful thing to do for a complete stranger – no one ever dreamed of anything like this.”