Carden, a fellow outdoorsman and writer, along with Martino started the clinic in 1984. Carden passed away after a battle with cancer in 1990.
“This has been a good thing for the community and for the kids,” Martino said. “And it’s the only fishing clinic of this size in the United States.”
Since its inception, the clinic has taught more than 4,000 kids.
In 1999, the clinic received national attention by receiving induction into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as the top youth fishing program in the United States.
Then in 2008, the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns selected Kokomo’s Kids Fishing Clinic as the top outdoor oriented youth program organized by a municipality, Martino said.
“This tournament has set the standard for all kids fishing tournaments.”
Martino is retiring from the parks and recreation department at the end of the month to work for Ivy Tech, but said he will always be involved in the fishing clinic.
“His dedication, fortitude and stellar work ethic have been an incredible asset to Kokomo over the years,” said Karickhoff. “John as acted as the leader Kokomo needs to preserve our environment and make smart decisions about our natural resources.”