When you visit the Orvis Commitment page on orvis.com, down in the lower right is “Our Partner Spotlight,” which calls attention to one of the many organizations that the company supports. This month’s featured partner is Project Healing Waters, which is “dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.” Here is their latest update:
Spring hatch 2013 finds Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing growing strong with 152 programs in 47 states and a handful of new programs just days away from being added to the list. With 122,000 hours being donated to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing by more than 2300 volunteers, there is a lot going on! Participants are rigging up and hitting the water, putting to use the skills honed and flies tied in their winter classes.
Rod Building and Fly Tying
Rod building and fly tying remain the hallmarks of our program which keeps participants engaged year round. This winter’s Rod Building Contest was a great success, with the submission of 150 entries by our disabled active military and disabled veteran population. According to Ron Weiss, who handles the judging, “We were blown away at the high quality of work done by the participants this year!”
Our program continues to make a significant difference in the lives of each disabled veteran and disabled military member we touch. We recently received this report from the wife of a disabled veteran following a major saltwater fishing outing in Palmetto, Florida hosted by the Bradenton Yacht Club. The wife of Bob Schum, a below the knee amputee, wrote:
He has been in the wheelchair since October of last year and only uses the walker to go to bed or the bathroom. Since then he has not wanted to do too much other than sit in front of the TV or sleep. The first time we heard of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing was at the Amputee Support Group at the hospital. All the amputees were invited to go to the Community Living Center to learn how to tie flies and make a rod if they liked. Bob was not really interested, but I took him over and we met with the guys from Suncoast Fly Fishers who sponsor the local PHWFF program. These guys took Bob under their wings and got him tying flies right away. During the time that he is tying flies he is talking and learning and he is also sharing with other vets. On the day of the Bradenton Yacht Club event, I was shocked to see Bob get into the boat not only with his walker but to have his wheelchair there for him. He had the biggest smile on his face when they pulled away from the dock. I have to admit I had a tear in my eye to see him do it. This is a man, who was happy just to sit at home and do nothing. Now he is out and talking with people and doing things that he never would have done on his own. Thanks to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and Suncoast Fly Fishers, he is active again and enjoying life.