Volunteers needed for Project Healing Waters

Project Healing Waters is a national organization dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.

Project Healing Waters would like to establish this program in the Grand Rapids area, through one or more of the Veterans Affairs facilities.  Nationally Trout Unlimited is very active with this program and Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited has been approached and asked to be the leader in establishing and conducting this program locally.

We are asking anyone interested in being a volunteer for this project to contact us for further information.  There are various roles within the volunteer organization, whether you are a fly tyer or someone just interested in helping out, we would like your help.  You may be a veteran yourself looking to lend a helping hand to a fellow veteran. This is also a great way to participate with other Trout Unlimited members and make new friends and memories.

More information can be found at the Project Healing Waters website at www.projecthealingwaters.org.  If you have any questions, please feel free to give board member Larry Risbridger a call at home at 616.891.0148 or by cell at 616.890.8327. He can also be reached via email at [email protected].

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. Program

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, fly tying and rod building classes and clinics for 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.

Project Healing Waters is unique in that our volunteers are teaching classes on an on-going, long term basis.  It is much more than a one day fishing trip.  For many participants, particularly disabled veterans, the socialization and camaraderie of the classes are just as important as the fishing outings, and provide them a new activity.

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.  The trips, near and far, are provided at no cost to the participants.

The Project relies on Federation of Fly Fishers, Trout Unlimited, and independent fly fishing clubs to conduct the program at the DOD and DVA hospitals across the nation. The volunteer staff and outings leaders include professional educators and fishing guides as well as experienced fly fishers, all of whom donate their time and knowledge to support the Project participants. Other volunteers help meet the educational, equipment, outings, training, and transportation needs.

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 DOD or DVA hospital willing to host the program, and wounded or disabled soldiers or veterans willing to participate.  Because each of these groups is unique, no two Project Healing Waters programs will be exactly the same.

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