How fishing helps Michigan veterans deal with emotional scars of war

By Howard Meyerson | The Grand Rapids Press

NEWAYGO, MI — Any differences were set aside when they stepped off the bus; those of the men who had to gone war and come back sullied; and those of the open-faced anglers who greeted them, hoping to thank them for their efforts.

The bus had arrived from the Battle Creek VA Medical Center. Its passengers, mostly men, bore scars that lay hidden, the insidious effects of battles not forgotten. Their issues cut across ethnic lines and body types. Some were big men, some small; some hardened, some not. Some were lost, some found and every one was looking.

Their hosts had arrived full of convivial good cheer, hauling drift boats and fishing rods. They were members of Trout Unlimited chapters, or professional guides with outfitters such as Baldwin Bait and Tackle and the Pere Marquette River Lodge. Each wanted to give back, to do what they could to help the veterans.

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