The most rewarding thing is to do the things you love.
Thad Simerly lives that dream.
Simerly, a former football player for the Trojans, earned a scholarship to Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee...for fishing. He's the first student from Morristown-Hamblen West High School to do it.
"We kind of had to go our way and do our own thing to get there," Simerly said. "It was a challenge."
The high school didn't sponsor Morristown West's fishing team. Regardless, he made a splash as an amateur angler, earning some $1500 in winnings, in addition to a scholarship. Bryan College also gave him an academic scholarship.
"Hopefully, me doing this will help other kids in the future be able to have an easier way," Simerly said.
Simerly spoke in glowing terms of the pro fishermen from East Tennessee he's met. He hopes to join their ranks one day, competing in the Bassmaster Elite tournament.
"Go out there and do what you love," Simerly said. "Even if it's not fishing. As long as you do what you're love and you're pursuing it - it won't be easy - but you'll get there. You can do it."
In his spare time, Simerly works in his garage, fixing up a 1950 Ford F-100. The truck is special to his family; his father, grandfather, and great grandfather all drove it.
He's nearly finished resurrecting a 1986 Camaro. Working on the car clears out his head and puts his mind at ease.
"It's more the history that comes with restoring them and the story they can tell," Simerly said.
It's certainly a blessing to do the things you love.
"Without the help from the good Lord, I don't see how anything could be going the way it is right now," Simerly said.
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