In 2017 this Nashville native Jacob Waddell, aka “Catfish Jake,” drove to Boardman, Ohio to visit family. Boardman just so happens to be about 50 mins from Pittsburgh, Penn., and as fate would have it, the Predators were playing their first ever Stanley Cup Final game in Pittsburgh against the Penguins while he was there. Jake decided to bring a catfish to toss on the ice, a Nashville tradition, to be funny and show his hometown team that no matter where they went "we" were with them.
Little did he know, that simple act would turn into a hilariously, ridiculous national headline. What happened next can only be described as unreal. Through the catfish “Instrument of Crime” incident, the Waddell family was able to help raise money for a couple of local charities. In a brief time, and with little effort, they raised $7,500 to help people locally and children during Christmas time.
Much of this was accomplished based on the support of local Preds fans, including many local businesses and his buddies from The Midday 180 (Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow, Paul Kuharsky, David Reed), the best radio show known to man. Bill Weisgerber challenged Jake to host an event.
"Being able to raise that money in such a short amount of time spawned my family to wonder what we could do to make a bigger difference with more time and effort? So my wife, Becky, and I thought, prayed, and decided to go for it and start a foundation to help those in need."
So The CatfishJake Foundation was established. Its goal is to raise money to be able to help families and children affected by CHD. Also, young people and adults who are fighting the battle of addiction. Lastly, the foundation will be starting a scholarship in honor of a great man and a friend who was a talented musician.
Our youngest son, Brooks was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of 4 Congenital heart defects (the same CHD Olympic Gold Medal Snowboard legend Shaun White has), also known as, Blue Baby syndrome. We found out when he was 2-weeks old and he had a major open heart procedure at 3-months old. Having no prior knowledge of CHD , it was a stressful time. But God carried Brooks and his family through. Brooks is now a thriving 3-year old and all boy.
Knowing first-hand what trials and stresses these children and their families endure, we feel led to this cause. The smallest and seemingly simplest gesture while your child is going through this can really make a big difference. Especially when youre spending weeks or months living in and out of a hospital. Our goal is to help families financially make it through these times, as well as, raise awareness for Childhood CHD.
Our family has seen addiction first hand through our mom and a few other relatives and friends. We know how trying and difficult this disease can be on the individuals and their families which has lead us into this cause. My mom battled addiction for years and had two different stays at Cumberland Heights, the second one being successful for a couple of years. She ultimately lost her battle with addiction and passed away eight years ago at the age of 51.
Jamie was a great man and an incredible musician. He and his brothers formed the Simmons years ago and rocked out for years. Jamie was a friend of mine but more importantly a friend to the friendless. He was strong in his faith and a strong man. He passed away this year in a single car accident. We have decide to partner with his family in establishing a scholarship for someone pursuing his/her dreams through music, whether it be through tuition support to a music school or helping afford an instrument.
"We have been incredibly blessed in our lives, and our goal is to be able to pass those blessings along to those who may need them the most. After all, One Fish Can Make A Difference."