LAKELAND, Fla. (FOX 13) - A lifelong fisherman in Polk County got an unexpected phone call that landed him a roll in an outdoor outfitter's social media campaign.
L.L. Bean, one of the most well-known outdoor brands, called up Will Dunn and asked if he wanted to be the focus of a video promoting outdoor living and mentorship.
“I was just overwhelmed,” he told FOX 13. “Still numb from it, to be honest.”
Years ago, Dunn started a non-profit organization called Take A Kid Fishing, where mentors buddy-up with foster kids or those whose dad is no longer around to take them out on the water.
He founded the organization after a series of events lead to an awakening. In 1993, he was shot, bitten by a rattlesnake, and hit by lightning.
“I just decided it was time to turn my life around, start to help others and start living right,” he said.
Ever since, he has been mentoring kids, taking them on fishing trips to ponds, lakes, and open waters.
“Will’s story, the story of Take A Kid Fishing, is all about sharing the joy of the outdoors,” explained Eric Smith, a spokesperson for L.L. Bean.
Smith says that’s exactly what the new campaign is trying to get across. The L.L. Bean folks came down from Maine for three days to record video of Dunn and his group's fishing trips.
“We felt like we were movie stars,” Dunn said.
“It was kind of scary because I have never been on TV but it was definitely a great opportunity,” said Camran Delong, who Dunn has been mentoring for 10 years.
As a 'thank you,' the company gave Dunn's group a dozen new rods and reels, all kinds of outdoor clothing, sunglasses, and a donation, which help fund more trips. For more about the Take a Kid Fishing program, visit http://www.takffl.com/.
You can check out the video on the company's Facebook page.