Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Project Healing Waters

A few months ago I heard about a program called Project Healing Waters, a program that helps injured and disabled veterans heal both physically and mentally through fly fishing. As an avid fly fisherman myself, I wanted to find how I could participate, to help honor those who have given so much for my freedom. I recently discovered that the Canandaigua Lake Chapter of Trout Unlimited, which I belong to, joined Project Healing Waters and is offering programs at the VA. I immediately signed up to volunteer in any way possible.

I went to my first meeting this evening and helped a handful of vets learn how to tie flies. Saying that, visions of house flies bound a gagged, spinning in circles upside down on a table pop in to my head. To be honest, although I've been fly fishing for a decade now, I am a rookie when it comes to tying flies. I've tired it a few times, but the end result usually looks more like a cat turd after a hair ball episode. Nevertheless, I was able to copy the instructor well enough to help one of the veterans tie a nice looking Wooly Booger fly. I then tried my own and made another cat turd with a hook. The next time I go fly fishing I'll try it and if it works I'll just sift through the litter box for bait.

All kidding aside, I'm proud and honored to be a part of this program to help and give back to those who have given so much. The caption below is from the Project Healing Waters website which can be found at www.projecthealingwaters.org.

Since its inception, PHWFF has been helping disabled active duty personnel and veterans to overcome the obstacles associated with their military service-related disabilities. The relearning of the fine motor skills required in fly fishing and fly tying has proven to be particularly effective in the overall rehabilitation of the disabled.
While PHWFF emphasizes the skills of fly fishing and fly tying to help the patients regain the use of their damaged bodies, perhaps the greatest benefit is in their realization that a more normal life is possible. Fly fishing can be a lifelong re-creation, both physically and emotionally.

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