The positive influence and impact of FTTU’s Youth Education Director Drew Banas will carry on well into the future. After his untimely passing in March 2021, memorial contributions came pouring in to FTTU’s Drew Banas Memorial Youth Education Fund. Donations have topped $4,700. The fund is restricted in use for Youth Conservation Education and will be used for the chapter’s youth group, sponsoring area youth to attend the Rivers Conservation Camp and Trout in the Classroom equipment and field trips.
More than 200 kids have gone through the FTTU Youth Fly Fishing and Conservation Group that Drew founded in 2005. He also served on the board of the Rivers Conservation Camp held annually at Messiah College along Yellow Breeches Creek.
Drew was honored at the chapter’s May meeting with with memorials by friends and fellow FTTUer’s. Milt Claney presented a slide show of Drew and their days fishing and bird hunting – two of Drew’s passions. Milt was a good friend to Drew, getting him out fishing when his bum knee hindered his wading and stream access. Rod Cross had another slide show highlighting Drew’s work with the Rivers Camp and others celebrated Drew’s life with stories and memories.
Thanks to all who made contributions to the Youth Education Fund.
It is with regret that I inform you that one of our fellow members and leaders, Drew Banas, passed away recently. The link to his obituary is posted below. Drew was one of the most important and influential leaders in the history of Forbes Trail TU. He served as an officer and on the board of directors for nearly two decades. He was instrumental in the planning and implementation of stream improvement projects, helped with our veterans’ events, banquets and other chapter activities.
His crowning achievement though was the conservation and fly fishing youth group he founded in 2005 and ran until COVID temporarily halted it in 2020. More than 250 local kids learned about cold water conservation through fly fishing in Drew’s program over the years. The curriculum Drew developed received state-wide recognition and influenced other TU youth programs. Drew also served on the board of the Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp.
Always eager to learn and share his knowledge, Drew started a weekly luncheon and fly tying roundtable that is popular with retirees and beginner fly tiers. Many have commented about Drew’s infectious enthusiasm and can-do attitude. In addition to his contributions to the chapter, Drew will be sorely missed as a friend and fishing companion.
In memory of Drew, and in honor of his youth education efforts, Forbes Trail has established the “Drew Banas Youth Education Memorial Fund”. Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so with a check made out to Forbes Trail TU with a note for the Fund. Send the donations to, Forbes Trail TU, P.O. Box 370, Youngstown, PA 15696. The donations received will be restricted to youth education activities and managed by our chapter. Donors will receive a written thank you letter. And a confirmation letter will be sent to Drew’s family. Online condolences may be shared at www.snydergreenfh.com.
We at FTTU were shocked and saddened to hear that Chuck Kuchta passed away while out hunting on Monday, November 12. Chuck was a long time member of FTTU whose involvement goes back decades. Chuck served on the Board of Directors for many years and also as chapter treasurer. He was instrumental in organizing many banquets and his booming voice could be heard calling out the winners in the raffles. Chuck also helped out with the Youth Group and other chapter projects going back to the ’70’s. He will be greatly missed for his knowledge and experience as well as his larger-than-life personality and friendship.
Chuck was an avid outdoorsman and was also a member of AFLOAT and the Kingston Sportsman’s Club.
On a personal note, when I first got involved with FTTU, I didn’t know anyone. Chuck and Russ Mason were the guys who were friendly and welcoming to me. Chuck gave me a hug when I agreed to take over the newsletter!