Bass Pro Shops founder generousBy JAMES L. CUMMINS,
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are teaming up with Convoy of Hope, a non-profit organization, to donate one million face masks to COVID-19 health care workers.
The Mississippi Department of Health will receive 4,000 of those face masks for distribution in the Jackson and Pearl area. Convoy of Hope is utilizing its national network of partners and volunteers to identify appropriate local hospitals and medical facilities, and help distribute the masks based on area needs and demands.
Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, is personally donating the FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure face masks. “We are extremely grateful to our nation’s health care workers serving on the front lines of this unprecedented global health crisis,” said Morris.
Over the past 10 years, I have gotten to know Johnny and his son, John Paul, who is a graduate of the University of Mississippi.
Johnny got his start in 1972 by selling fishing tackle using 8 square feet of space in the back of his father’s store. Today, Bass Pro Shops not only has a shop in Pearl, Mississippi, but a total of almost 200 stores with more than 200 million visitors daily. As one can easily see with this donation of masks, Johnny and his family are generous people. We are both in the Boone and Crockett Club, and I will sometimes sit next to him in meetings. He will have two notepads – one to take notes about the meeting and one to write down ideas about what he is working on or a next project.
He is one of the most visionary conservation leaders I know. I also have a great respect for how he grew up — his humble beginnings. His father, a decorated World War II veteran, loved to hunt and fish and taught Johnny that hunting and fishing fostered a special respect and appreciation for wildlife and our natural world. That is easy to see, from every Bass Pro store to Dogwood Canyon to Big Cedar Lodge to his Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri.
Johnny’s passion, leadership, personal commitment and dedication to conservation is tremendous. He is one of our nation’s largest donors – in both time and financial resources – to fish and wildlife conservation efforts. He is a strong believer in getting our young people introduced to the outdoors.
I personally would like to thank Johnny, his wife Jeanie, and John Paul for making this great Nation a better place to live, work, and raise a family. It is their sincerity and generosity, such as donating these masks, that brightens up a dark day. I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that the more people in our great nation with traits like these, the better off our nation will be.