Editor’s Note: As we remember the sacrifices of American service men and women this weekend, we wanted to recognize one group who’s giving back to injured and disabled troops in Alaska.
By Bob Pawlowksi
Alaska offers a special opportunity for finding quiet tranquil places to fly fish for trout and salmon.
In both the fishing and in preparing to fish by tying flies and building fly rods, one can find peace and tranquility. When combined with others who have common interest and experiences, one can find camaraderie.
In Alaska, as part of a national program, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Alaska is reaching out to service members with disabilities to bring fly fishing into their lives as a part of the healing process.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly-fishing and fly tying education, rod building and outings.
In the fulfillment of this mission, PHWFF works with wounded, ill or disabled active military service personnel and veterans in Department of Defense hospitals, Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics, and military transition units nationwide. All activities are provided without cost to participants.
PHWFF Alaska hosts fly fishing clinics and outings with activities that include fly tying, rod-building, fishing education, float tubing, fly casting, as well as fishing outings for grayling, rainbows, dollies and salmon, aimed at bringing participants together with knowledgeable volunteers during the learning process.
Clinics are held in Anchorage at the William Jack Hernandez Hatchery on Thursdays 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. and in Wasilla at the Wasilla Vet Center on Tuesdays 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. All materials, equipment and trips are provided free of cost to participants and are well supported by local volunteers.
Eligible participants include ill, wounded or injured military members referred by the Warrior Transition Unit, Medical Evaluation Boards or medical staff at military hospitals and disabled Veterans who have a VA Disability rating.
Individuals, especially veterans, who know how to tie flies, build fly rods, teach fly casting, and share fishing knowledge are encouraged to become volunteers.
For more information, please visit the Facebook page for Project Healing Waters Alaska https://www.facebook.com/Project-Healing-Waters-Alaska-123753750975528/.
Or contact Jan Schnorr, Program Lead, at Project Healing Waters Alaska at PHWAlaska@gmail.com.