“This is the first time I really felt my sacrifice was appreciated.
They were wonderful to us and I never knew that I could actually
fly fish again, as I did when I was young.”
[A Maine Volunteer and Veteran]
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing began over three years ago as wounded troops began returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Founders Captain Ed Nicholson, USN (retired) and Chief Warrant Officer John Colburn, USN (retired) started up the fly tying and casting classes at Walter Reed under the oversight of the Chief of Occupational Therapy. The benefits were evident almost immediately and the program quickly became very popular. After a couple of years, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing affiliated with the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) and began to expand to other military and Veterans Administration hospitals around the country.
Project Healing Waters now successfully serves our military personnel who have been wounded, injured, or disabled to aid their physical and emotional recovery by introducing or rebuilding the skills of fly fishing and fly tying and by using and enjoying these skills on fishing outings and as lifelong recreation.
While initially focusing on the military personnel in the Washington, DC area, the Project has expanded nationwide and is offering its services and program to active military personnel and veterans in Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals throughout the country.
The Project’s program provides basic fly fishing, fly casting and fly tying classes and clinics for the wounded and injured personnel ranging from beginners to those with prior fly fishing and tying experience who are adapting their skills to their new abilities. All activities and services are provided to the participants at no cost. Fly fishing and tying equipment and materials are provided to the participants, including equipment that accommodates their special needs.
The Project’s training and educational activities are designed to ignite or rekindle the participants’ appreciation and enthusiasm for a wide variety of fly fishing outings. While most of these fishing trips are conducted within a half-day’s travel from a hospital, the Project actively seeks opportunities to offer outings in quality fishing sites across the county.
We are honored and proud to offer Saturday for the benefit of Healing Waters Warriors to join in with our Clave. We have to date three participants and the list is now growing for additonal Veteran participants.
I am pleased to announce with the assistance of fellow FF@ members, we will now be able to provide the professional assistance for casting, fly tying and actual in-water fishing experience to make this day for our Heroes a truly rewarding personal experience.
Transportation and lodging expenses to get participants to the Clave is born by
contributions, near and far, and are provided at no cost to the participants. Our Clave volunteer staff who many of you know personnally as experienced fly fishers, will donate their time and knowledge to support the Clave's participants with hands-on assistance and education. We will call on additonal volunteers to help with transportation to the water sites, serving lunches streamside, etc.
How Can You Participate?
You needn't be at the Clave to help this most worthy cause although we would really enjoy having you and your family/friends join in the weekend with us.
If you can't make it, then perhaps you will consider making a donation in equipment or monetary donation to the National HQs as we will subsequently be organizing a permanent Middle Tennessee Chapter that can use as much help as possible. Or perhaps you get involved locally and start an activity in your area? If there is a military facility, Post, Base or Veteran's Hospital nearby, chances are good that there is a bona fide opportunity to start a new chapter.
For those of you who tie we need tying supplies and equipment. We will tie a wooly bugger, soft hackle, and a sulpur dry fly and would very much appreciate kits. Each kit should include pre-prepped hackles, hooks, tying threads, etc. so each is ready to be handed out immediately following preliminary intro information to fly tying. For those with access to a publisher or care to make a donation fly tying manuals would be very much appreciated, the excess being donated to the National HQs.
For those attending, an extra rod with reel and line (4-5 weights) or two for casting classes would be appreciated as back-ups in the event the number of attendees grows towards the Clave date.
All Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing activities are dependent on tax deductible financial donations under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. The organization is incorporated in the state of Maryland. Accordingly, you will receive a notification of Donation Receipt upon acceptance of your donated equipment (new or serviceable used.) For support to our Clave you will receive a Project Healing Waters badge to wear on your fishing apparel.
Please give volunteering or donation for this special program your consideration, and respond at your earliest opportunity with an indication of where (which aspect of the Clave program) and how you’d like to contribute. I will be reporting to the Region and National HQs at regular intervals on the progress we’re making. I am happy to answer any questions you may have (or
will find the answers in short order). Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. strives to effectively serve the deserving past and present members of our armed forces who have made great sacrifices in the service of our Nation.
With your willingness to support this program, either locally, nationally or towards our Clave efforts this year, we will all find a special way to thank the bravest of men and woman who have sacrificed unselfishlessly for others.
For those with specific questions as to how you may participate please drop me a line.
On behalf of our Warrior Heroes,