Tucson: Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing

Healing with waters

Rehab through fly-fishing

Wounded and disabled military personnel and Veterans have a unique sporting outlet to gain fishing skills and build confidence with the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF).

The Healing Waters project assists in their physical and emotional rehabilitation through fly fishing and fly tying education and fishing outings. PHWFF was started by Ed Nicholson, a retired Navy Captain at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, as a 501 (C) (3) charity organization in 2004.

PHWFF conducts fly fishing, fly tying, fly rod building classes and provides clinics for wounded and injured personnel. Classes are offered at Ft Huachuca on a weekly basis. Volunteers teach classes on an on-going, long term basis. There are no costs to participants.

The Project relies on the 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.

PHWFF is a major contributor to the annual weeklong trip to Durango Colorado that includes soldiers form Ft. Carson, Colorado, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona and Community Based Warrior Transition Utah soldiers. The group sponsors a day trip of bass fishing on local waters and a four-day trip to the White Mountains for the Ft. Huachuca soldiers and a VA patient.

Plans include several four-or-five day trips to the White Mountains this spring and summer, the annual trip to Durango in August, a December day trip to local waters and a short two-or-three day trip to Silver Creek near Show Low this winter. There may even be an opportunity to take one or two PHWFF participants to Alaska next summer.

Old Pueblo Trout Unlimited (OPTU) sponsors the local PHWFF program with support from the San Pedro Fly Casters of Sierra Vista. The local program made a presentation to the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System in Spring 2008 and assisted a group of VA patients on an outing at Rose Canyon Lake in the fall of 2008. The Warrior Transition Unit at Ft Huachuca joined with the PHWFF in May 2009.

PHWFF is planning classes in the Tucson area for VA patients, injured Veterans and injured Active or Reserve and National Guard soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. The local Project is also working on trips to Canada and Alaska.

A Tucson fly tying class starts in April. So far, 24 soldiers have been taught fly tying and nine soldiers learned how to build rods.

http://www.projecthealingwaters.org/index.html National PHWFF Web Page
http://phwffofsouthernarizona.shutterfly.com/ Pictures of trip to White Mountains
http://phwffdurango2009.shutterfly.com/ Picture of trip to Durango

For more information: Robin Marsett
Program Lead PHWFF, Ft Huachuca, Arizona

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