Returning home from active duty can be tough for a lot of veterans. Returning injured can be an even harder adjustment. Nonprofits like Project Healing Waters are here to help soften the struggle of coming back injured by giving vets the opportunity to participate in a relaxing outdoor activity.
Created in 2005, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing(PHWFF) serves wounded military service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who have returned from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as active service members and disabled veterans from all military branches and service eras. Project Healing Waters allows disabled active military personnel across the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System the opportunity to take part in fly fishing programs, and since its inception, PHWFF has expanded nationwide.
PHWFF offers veterans the chance to build basic fly fishing skills like fly casting, fly tying, and rod building classes. Participants can also attend clinics that range in beginner skills for those who have never fished before, to clinics for those with prior fly fishing and tying experience who are looking to adapt their skills and abilities.
The volunteers teach the different clinics on an ongoing, long-term basis and offer more than just a one-day fishing trip for the vets. Most participants, particularly the disabled veterans, find that the socialization and camaraderie of the classes just as important as actually attending the fishing outings and find that the program provides them with a new activity to try. The best part about PHWFF is that all fly fishing equipment is provided to the participants at no cost. Fishing trips, regardless of length, are also provided free of charge to the program’s participants.
PHWFF has a program in each of the 50 states as well as Germany that are managed by local volunteers who also work within the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defence military installations, Warrior Transition Units, and other military-related institutions.PHWFF covers 20 geographic regions throughout the US.
Project Healing Waters is so much more than a one-time fly fishing outing. They offer ongoing, year-round support, classes, and outings for veterans who have been wounded during their active military service. If you are interested in donating or volunteering, please visit Project Healing Waters website to learn how to donate or where you can become actively involved in your local PHWFF.