Angler donates 95 bags of fish to strangers in need

Walter Ragland likes to fish at least once a week year round. (Image: Walter Ragland)

There's a man in Hamilton County who loves to fish and loves to share his catch with complete strangers.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn surprises the angler who's donated more than a hundred pounds of fish already this year.

Reeling in a big one has been a big part of Walter Ragland's life since he was a child.

Now his hobby has become a ministry, most of the fish he catches is donated to people who need the free food the most.

You may have seen Walter Ragland with his fishing pole near the Chickamauga Dam.


Every week he carves out time for his favorite hobby, and recently, his good deeds caught the attention of a woman from Ooltewah while she was eating at the restaurant he works for.

"I've told so many people, because this guy is so awesome," said Tonia Whitt.

Whitt says Walter gave her this big bag of Crappie for free after he overheard a conversation about her love of fish.

It turns out, Walter has given away 95 bags to other strangers just like her.

"It's a blessing what he does. He filets it, he freezes it and writes on it and gives it to people," said Tonia.

Tonia turned her frozen bag into this hot meal and shared it with family.

"And it was probably the best fish I've ever had. It was so good," said Tonia. "I just wanted so bad to do something special for him."

Today, Tonia got the chance. She showed up at Walter's work after asking him to bring her more free fish, and he took the bait!

"Did you come to get your fish?" asked Walter.

"Yes I did, and on behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan law Firm I want to Pay It Forward for what you've done, by helping people and giving them fish. So hold out your hand. 1, 2, 3, 4, $500 for you. For what you do," surprised Tonia.

"Thank you! You know this wasn't necessary right. You still want your fish, don't you? I did bring you a bag!" laughed Walter.

Moments later, he brought it outside.

"It's all ready to go," said Walter as he handed the fish to Tonia.

"I appreciate it. Thank you so much," said Tonia.

As Tonia headed home with a big smile on her face we asked Walter why he puts others first.

"You never know what people are going through in life and it never hurts to be friendly. The Lord blessed me to catch it, I don't mind sharing it," said Walter.


Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for helping others? Nominate them here!

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