We enjoy fly fishing for the conventional reasons: it’s a test of skill, in a beautiful setting, and fish are tasty.
The folks at Project Healing Waters have channeled these simple pleasures into an outlet for those who both need and deserve it most.
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So, we cover some very silly, quite often stupid, and certainly bizarre aspects of the fishing world here at Wide Open Spaces, but we’d like to take a second to talk about something a little more important than, say, the Annual Redneck Fishing Tournament.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is truly a Godsend: its mission is to help rehabilitate physically, mentally, and emotionally disabled Veterans through fly fishing.
Recreational Therapy has been shown to have a great and lasting positive impact on those suffering from battle-related injuries, both physical and mental, and Project Healing Waters aims to do exactly that.
Because Veterans are most at risk for certain types of mental illnesses, and the terrible results of those illnesses, non-profit organizations like this one are a godsend for those who have sacrificed the most.
Founded in 2005 by Ed Nicholson, a former Navy Officer and outdoor enthusiast (more info on Ed here), the program has helped thousands of Veterans over the last nine years by offering courses in both fishing and tying, and well as fishing trips and outings, completely and totally free of charge to Veterans.
And while the impact of the program is hard to quantify, but it’s inarguable that this is doing so real good in the world. And frankly, we can’t think of a group of people who deserve to take a day off to just go fishing.
If you are a Veteran, or know someone who’d like to join one of their programs, the extensive map of where they’re available is here. There are currently more than 14 regional programs, each of which have many, many local chapters.
And while most of us are just spending time enjoying the great outdoors, these guys have taken their passion for fishing and really done some wonderful, wonderful work with it. But they need our support:
How Can You Help?
How can you support The Healing Waters Project? 3 ways:
1. Donate equipment
Have a couple fly fishing rigs and waders that haven’t seen the sun in a while? Give Healing Waters a call, and they’ll tell you how you can make sure those rods and reels go to better use than collecting dust in the hall closet.
2. Donate cash
Cash is king. Healing Waters is 501(c)3, which means all donations are completely tax deductible. Lower your taxable income and make the world a better place by mailing a check to: Project Healing Waters, PO Box 695, La Plata, MD 20646, or simply donate online.
3. Start your own program
Fly fishing your thing? Want to give back? You can start a Healing Waters group of your own- information on how is available here.
4. Buy stuff
With the holidays coming up, we’ve got a lot of ideas of what we’d like to make us the ultimate fishing mecha-warrior. Buy your holiday gear through these vendors, and a portion of the proceeds will go directly toward benefiting the program.
5. Spread the word
The promo video linked above currently only has around 600 views as of the posting of this article. These guys are doing amazing work, so get on Facebook and Twitter and link, link, link, get it out there, and help the good work the fishing world is doing for veterans.
Because again, if anyone deserves a day out on the water, it’s them.