Founder, Ed Nicholson believed that teaching wounded vets fly fishing skills could very be good therapy during their recovery while at Walter Reed Hospital. Ten years ago we had the good fortune of offering the very first destination, fishing trip for the newly formed Healing Waters Organization. It was such a huge success that we have put together a trip every year since. Because of the great results they achieved chapters began forming all around the country.
Before disabled vets get to go on destination outings they participate in fly tying classes sponsored by their local Trout Unlimited Chapter. They get the chance to build their own fly rods and in Maine get fly casting lessons from LL Bean’s instructors. After participating all winter with different classes vets have the chance to go on a number of different locally sponsored outings.
This year we had another two days of drift boat fishing offered by our guides. Eight disabled vets were picked from around New England that traveled to Greenville last week to take part in this years 4 day outing. We drifted the East Outlet on the first day then the West Branch the second. The trout and salmon were very co-operative so everyone caught fish each day. We had lots of laughs and made lifelong memories in the process.
While in Greenville they stayed at Moosetract Cottages on Prong Pond. They have handicap accessible cottages that make their stay easy. The Trailside Restaurant, Antie M’s, Kelly’s Kitchen, and the Rod & Reel Cafe invited the vets for morning and evening meals. Lunches were served riverside by the guides, with provisions provided by Indian Hill Trading Post. And our local American Legion always ends their stay with a barbecue right at Moosetracts Cottages.
The vets are taken back by the generosity of the Greenville Community. It’s a humbling experience for all of us who participate. They don’t get this sort of chance to get away and not have a care while they are here.
The photo tells the story. And there is no explanation for the joy expressed when a salmon is jumping on the end of someone’s fly line. The smiling faces tell the story.