Coon Valley officials to host Trout Fest despite more flood damage

COON VALLEY, Wis. (WKBT) - Flooding is affecting the community of Coon Valley for a third straight year. However, the town still plans on hosting its annual Trout Fest this weekend.     

Coon Valley's Veterans Park has had its share of dark days over the past couple of years. The Park and local residents continue to take a beating from floodwaters.

This year, they hope an annual event will bring some light to the community. 

"Every time I come down that hill," Jim Schmidt said. "That's home."

Schmidt and his wife have found their place. 

"We have lived in Coon Valley for approximately 20 years," he said. 

Both have served in the United States Air Force. 

"I was in the Air Force for 33 years and I retired as a senior master sergeant," Schmidt said. "My wife retired as a master sergeant. We are just enjoying life day by day." 

Recent events in this town have made it difficult for them to enjoy those days. Last August, record rainfall buried the Coon Valley community taking a big piece of the lives of its residents. 

"Unfortunately we lost 90 percent of our belongings," Schmidt said. 

Unlike a lot of people, they were able to keep their home.

"We are happy," Schmidt said. "We feel really blessed that we are back safe. We got out." 

Now this year more rain and high water have caused even more damage to this town. 

"They get it all fixed up and then it floods again," said Carol Olson, president of the Coon Valley Business Association. "It's really devastating."

Veterans Park takes the brunt of the punishment every year. The park is also where the town hosts its annual Trout Festival. 

"It's a family event for Coon Valley," Olson said.

Olson is in charge of the event, and she said despite another year of flooding, they are still on for trout fishing. 

"We are going to work through it," she said. "We are going to do it anyway." 

They are going to use the money raised from the event for flood cleanup. The festival also gives residents like Schmidt a chance to focus on something else. 

"It gets people thinking about something other than the flood," Olson said. "It helps make people happy." 

Schmidt understands what it means to fight a battle. Even though this community has been through a lot these past few years, he said they haven't lost their battle. 

"We are winning a lot of battles," he said. "Our goal is to win the war." 

He said he will continue to call Coon Valley home. 

"It's been a long road, but we keep pressing on," Schmidt said. 

Trout Fest organizers said they will have a trout released early Saturday morning and children will be able to start fishing around 9 a.m.

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