Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing strives to effectively serve past and present members of our armed forces who have made great sacrifices in the service of our nation.
The mission of this project is to help the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active-duty personnel and veterans through fly-fishing and fly-tying education and outings.
Project Healing Waters programs provide basic fly fishing, fly-casting, fly-tying and fly-rod-building classes. They hold clinics for wounded/injured military personnel and disabled veterans ranging from beginners to those with previous fly-fishing and tying experience who are adapting their skills to their new abilities and disabilities. All fly-fishing and tying equipment is provided to the participants at no cost. Fishing trips, both one-day and multiple-day, also are provided for free.
Project Healing Waters is unique in that its volunteers already are teaching classes on an ongoing, long-term basis in our community. For many participants, particularly disabled veterans, the socialization and camaraderie of the classes are just as important as the fishing outings, and fly fishing provides them with a new activity. It is much more than a one-day fishing trip.
The project relies on the Federation of Fly Fishers, Trout Unlimited and independent fly-fishing clubs to conduct the program across the nation. The volunteer staff and outing leaders include experienced anglers and guides who donate their time and knowledge to support the project participants.
In order to have a viable Project Healing Waters program, three groups must co-exist: a fly-fishing club willing to provide the volunteers and organize the program; a Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs hospital willing to host the program; and wounded or disabled veterans willing to participate. Because each of these groups is unique, no two Project Healing Waters programs will be exactly the same.
The Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center is the host agency for the entire state of Colorado. The San Juan Angler is our local organization that provides guides and other volunteers. What is now needed are wounded or disabled military personnel and veterans who would like to participate in Project Healing Waters fly-fishing.
For more information about Project Healing Waters classes, call Jerome Gallegos at The San Juan Angler at 382-9978 or (505) 720-5907.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.