The Block Island Times

Fire Dept. fundraising tourney winners

By Lily O'Gara | Aug 12, 2014

Fried food and fundraising are two things that go hand in hand for the members of the Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Departments. Following a successful steak fry on the Fourth of July, the Fire Barn hosted a fish fry on Aug. 11. This event served as the awards ceremony for entrants of the 10th Annual Charity Fishing Tournament.

According to Ravi Banerjee, a member of the Fire Department and an employee at Block Island Fishworks, about 50 people entered the tournament, which ran from 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 to 10 a.m. on Aug. 11. Three types of fish were targeted- bass, bluefish, and fluke- and there was an adult and youth division in each category. Competitors were allowed to catch fish by shore or boat using natural or artificial bait; no spear fishing was allowed.

Banerjee, who organized the event, took the reins from Deputy Chief Peter Gempp who, along with Chris Hobie and Peter McNearney, conceived the idea 10 years prior. Gempp said that basic turnout gear cost about $3,000 per firefighter, so fundraisers like this are important. A ham and bean dinner is in the works the fall, he said.

Although there were fewer entrants than in years past, Banerjee said the event was  “hugely popular with the kids,” and was made possible through assistance from sponsors like Pale Horse Charters, Block Island Fishworks, Twin Maples, and the Salty Dog.

The winners, listed below, received prizes such as rods, tackle and other fishing gear.


Fluke: Mark Ventres, 6.35 pounds (adult)

Camryn Werbierski, 2.4 pounds (youth)

Bass: Blaize Hatfield, 32 pounds (youth)

(There was no adult entrant.)

Blue: John Homewell, 9.8 pounds (adult)

Priscilla Hunnewell, 10 pounds (youth)

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