AMERICA’S WOUNDED WARRIORS - Healing through Fly Fishing
The proud history of the American Military started with the American Revolution and has continued to this day. We have honored those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We remember and honor the outstanding hero’s, as we should. For those wounded warriors that return there are medals, medical treatment and then some are unfortunately forgotten.
There was a brief time in our history where the returning warriors were scorned and quickly cast aside and forgotten. Thank God that is no longer the case. Now we have several groups which operate Wounded Warrior programs and more people than ever before are becoming involved; donating both time and money to this worthy case. All of these groups that do good work and work to assist the wounded warriors of America are worthy of the support and respect of the American people, as are the fine young men and women they assist.
However, I would like to tell you about a unique group located in Bozeman, Montana that goes the extra mile for the wounded warriors of America. The group is the “WARRIORS & QUIET WATERS FOUNDATION”. This group was founded in 2007 by Colonel Eric E. Hastings, USMC (Ret.) along with an outstanding Board of Directors, a number of local businesses, homeowners, landowners, fly fishing guides and a small army of volunteers.
This group offers to traumatically Wounded US servicemen and women a truly exceptional life-changing experience of which fly fishing plays a major role. Their program is unique and different as monies are donated and discounts are given by many fine companies in the fly fishing industry so this group can outfit each wounded warrior that arrives in Bozeman with a complete set of fly fishing equipment, including waders that are custom altered to fit the needs of the warriors on an individual basis. Furthermore, this equipment is theirs to keep and take with them.
All members of the Foundation are volunteers; among them is some of the finest fly fishing guides in Montana; guides such as Bob Jacklin, Dave Corcoran, Jerry Crabs, Willy Self and Dave Kumlien. Dave is also the director who organizes the guides for the wounded warrior trips. Each Warrior is assigned his or her own personal guide for each day that they fish, along with a volunteer companion who goes along to assist the guide and the wounded warrior. There are also the drivers and Moms and a host of others who interact and touch the lives of the wounded warriors.
However, I would also tell you that the Wounded Warriors, both collectively and individually have touched the lives of all the volunteers who are associated with the foundation. These fine young men and women are a wonderful cross-section of America and their stories and dedication touch all who come in contact with them. Many friendships have begun on a trip and lasted far beyond the trip itself.
All to whom I spoke considered it an honor to serve as a volunteer for these trips and felt that they had touched the lives and assisted many of the wounded warriors on their road to recovery. The warriors have also touched and changed the lives of those assisting them, filled them with a sense of humility and pride in the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
So if you, the reader, care to make a donation of any amount, please send your checks to: Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation
P.O. Box 1165
Bozeman, MT 59771-1165
They have a fine web-site: warriorsandquietwaters.org
This is one foundation that has no paid staff and therefore all the funds go directly to help continue this excellent program that benefits the Wounded Warriors of America.
Editor’s Note: The author has served as a professional guide with this program for several years.