SOUTHINGTON — The United Way of Southington has netted “Deadliest Catch” co-star Nick Tokman as the keynote speaker at its Annual Dinner and campaign kickoff.
Tokman, also called Sunshine, is an Alaskan fisherman who has appeared on multiple seasons of Discovery Channel’s king crab-catching documentary series.
As a four-year cast member, Tokman battled some of the harshest working conditions, including 35-foot rogue waves, freezing temperatures, extreme physical labor and 20 hour work days. But he also has a message to build self-worth in others so they overcome negative influences, take control of their life and create success, according to a press release announcing the event.
The dinner is scheduled for Sept. 16 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville.
“Nick has an amazing story to share,” United Way of Southington’s Executive Director Jack Eisenmann said in a statement. “We’re excited to welcome him to Southington. He brings the energy and motivation that aligns with the event and our mission. Most importantly, it’s all to benefit our nonprofit partners doing vital work for town residents.”
Tokman will talk about the struggles he went through trying to land a commercial fishing job in Alaska, including homelessness.
Tokman is a native of western Massachusetts and now lives in Connecticut. United Way board member Brandon Berlin is a personal friend and convinced him to speak at the event.
United Way board members hope Tokman’s message encourages “Southington’s residents to both follow their dreams while getting them excited about supporting those in town that need it most,” said board member Mark Berardi.
“We chose Nick for a few reasons,” Berardi said in an email. “The popularity of the Deadliest Catch certainly helps. However, and more importantly, Nick's grandfather introduced him to the show for the first time at a point in his life where he felt unfulfilled. His upbeat, motivational messaging centers around bringing out the best in all of us.
“It’s the Rocky story of crab fishing,” Berardi added.
The annual campaign helps the United Way provide assistance to local agencies such as Bread for Life, the Prudence Crandall Center, Literacy Volunteers, Margaret Griffin Pre School, the YMCA, Senior Transportation Services, Southington Community Services, YMCA Sexual Assault Hotline and the Child Guidance Clinic.
Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased by visiting unitedwayofsouthington.org. Price includes photo opportunities, dinner and open bar.