As the year closes down (we hope everyone had an enjoyable one) we wanted to wrap up with an update on one of our most rewarding endeavors,
Project Healing Waters (PHW). After stepping back from being president of our chapter,
Bill Cartwright focused his talents on PHW, helping our members become further involved and helping hundreds
of local veterans experience something many would have no way to.
We’re thankful for Bill and PHW letting us be a part.
If you know someone who might want to volunteer or a veteran who could benefit from fly tying or fly fishing, please contact us.
Since the Massanutten Chapter partnered with the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Organization (PHWFF) in July of 2013, our volunteers have made substantial progress in aiding the physical and emotional rehabilitation to the area’s disabled veterans.
Thanks to the continued dedication of MTU members Richard Foust and Bob Holloway, many vets have improved their physical dexterity and, as a result, their home life as well. Kudos to Jerry Black for donating the use of his Beaver Creek property for fly-casting instruction. Also, many thanks to those Chapter helpers who have willingly offered their time and service to PHW.
Surprisingly, not all of the help has come from MTU Members. Private citizens such as Mrs. Janet Mitchell has donated the use of her West Virginia cabin for two separate weeks in 2014 – not only for the vets but also for their families. Jonathan Lancaster has offered guiding service and subsidized lodging at the Natural Retreats on the Jackson River.
Closer to home, Billy Joseph will stock his portion of Mossy Creek, while Bob and Sue Grace, owners of Susie Q Farm on Smith Creek, will open their property to the disabled vets. Because of this generosity, the Chapter has only to provide transportation and meals for the vets at these events!
So, what’s the outlook for the coming six months of 2014?
- Many disabled vets are scheduled to be released from VA Hospitals located in Martinsburg, Salem, Portsmouth, and McGuire, and will assigned to the two VA Outpatient Clinics serviced by our Chapter – Staunton and Harrisonburg. Many times, these vets “fall through the cracks” once they’re transferred to the local VA Clinics. In order to provide a source to these veterans, presentations have been scheduled to community- and military-related clubs and posts frequented by these veterans.
- The number of fly-tying classes both in the Harrisonburg and Staunton areas will be increased. Likewise, fly-casting classes and one-on-one instruction sessions will be expanded. In Spring, a series of fly-fishing trips/outings are planned for the vets.
Both VA Clinics estimate that at least 200 additional vets will be encouraged to participate in the PHWFF Program. As you can predict, extra help will be needed as this represents a ten-fold increase over the current participation level.
If you would like to contribute your time and fly fishing expertise, your help will really be appreciated. Should you prefer to make a small donation to the Chapter, it will be earmarked strictly for the vets. Either way, please contact Bill Cartwright, PHW Program Leader at (540) 432-0607, or email him at: email@example.com.