Who was Rusty Lockner and why is he so important to our Sunrise Rotary Club? 
Rusty was a successful real estate broker who was passionate about many things. One of those passions was fly fishing. And he was darn good at it. In fact, he was an expert. If you were lucky enough to fish with Rusty, he would know where to find those big rainbows, cuts or browns in the morning, and if you were really lucky, he might put you on an Artic Grayling.  Then he knew where to find dozens of brook trout in the afternoon, a number off which would wind up in the frying pan that evening.
Rusty was also passionate about Rotary. He was a charter member of Santa Rosa (CA) Sunrise Rotary and provided leadership for that club as well as our own Missoula Sunrise Rotary Club. He was very generous and really good at fundraising. Using that talent, Russ helped raise thousands of dollars for our club in support of club activities supporting youth with special emphasis on our work with two Partnership for Youth homes in Missoula. He also made personal donations in support of Missoula’s youth as the need arose.
When Russ passed away, losing his battle with pancreatic cancer, our club, in conjunction with Rusty’s long-time friend John Dolinsek, who was also a member of Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary, worked to establish a legacy in honor of Rusty. For several years, we, in conjunction with the Five Valleys Land Trust, sponsored an essay contest for middle school students in Missoula County Public Schools. The essays were focused on why fly fishing was important to the student. We also asked the students to include the importance of conservation of our rivers and streams in their essays. Our goal was to introduce more middle school students to fly fishing with the idea of ‘hooking’ the next generation of fly fishermen as well as to promote conservation of our rivers and streams. The grand prize for this contest was an Orvis fly fishing outfit plus a half-day guided fishing trip with Grizzly Hackle in Missoula providing the boat and guide for that trip.
As the years passed, we wanted to establish a more tangible sign of Rusty’s legacy. Working with our local Trout Unlimited chapter, that desire led to the development of a Trout Mobile Kit and classroom lessons teaching various Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the way in which they relate to how fish feel and see, then comparing that with how humans feel and see. There is also an emphasis on conservation. The mobile kits have been created and are ready to deliver to fourth grade classrooms throughout Missoula. A teacher is currently working on lesson plans which will be delivered to classroom teachers along with the mobile kit. The goal is to have these in teachers’ hands by the end of September.
Our hope is that the Trout Mobile Kit and associated lessons will help perpetuate a lasting legacy for Rusty Lockner.