Project Healing Waters

 

Project Healing Waters (PHW) is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing.  PHW was founded in 2005 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center with the help of local Trout Unlimited (TU) and Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) volunteers.  The Alaska Program was established in 2010 by the Alaska Fly Fishers and is coordinated by Alaska Fly Fishers volunteers.

The program offers free fly tying and rod-building classes, fly-casting and fishing instruction, and guided fly-fishing outings.  Currently, we are offering fly tying classes every Thursday from 4:00 to 6 :00 PM at the Soldier Family Assistance Center (SFAC) located on JBER behind the Hospital just past the Muldoon Gate.

For additional information about activities, trips, becoming a volunteer, or donating equipment, money or tying materials, please contact PHW at PHWAlaska@gmail.com or Jan Schnorr at Janiceinak@gmail.com.

View comments and photos from previous trips on our Facebook page at Project Healing Waters Alaska

See and hear inspirational images and a song about PHW Participants in

THE RIVER JUST KNOWS – GREAT PHW VIDEO MONTAGE http://www.projecthealingwaters.org/html/videos/video.html

November and December 2013 Events

Project Healing Waters Anchorage

Recognition Awards

At the Annual Holiday Celebration on December 12th, Project Healing Waters Anchorage presented numerous awards to participants and volunteers related to their involvement in activities during 2013.  Please join us in congratulating the following individuals for their achievements.

Most Improved Caster of the Year – Joe Tate

Best Rod Builder of the Year – Todd Green

Biggest Rainbow of the Year – JT Turner

Biggest Fish of the Year – Kelley Pearson

Air Force Volunteer of the Year – Chris Pouncey

Army Volunteer of the Year – Nathan Henderson

Participant of the Year – Dustin Roach

Volunteer of the Year – David Rooker

 

Fall 2013 Update

October PHW Trips.  Project Healing Waters held three trips during October.  Frank Stevens took participants to the Anchor River for steelhead fishing October 2nd through the 4th where Josh Hayes provided guiding services.  Land’s End Resort generously donated lodging accommodations for this trip. On October 4th, Jan Schnorr lead a group of participants to the Middle Kenai River, where Damond Blankenship, Ty Van Lier, and Kevin Thurman provided boats and guiding expertise to seek out rainbows and silvers.  We wish to thank the Aspen Hotel in Soldotna for donating accommodations for this trip.  Dean Williams and several other volunteers lead a trip to Bob Rima’s Drifter’s Lodge for the end of the season float trip for rainbows and silvers.  Even though the Federal Government restricted river access, some large schools of silvers were located and participants hooked and landed some beauties!

Kenai River Silvers - October 2013

Kenai River Silvers – October 2013

 

Fisher House.  PHW under the leadership of Dave Rooker continues to provide tying instruction to veterans residing at the Fisher House on JBER.   The Fisher House is a “home away from home” for service members, veterans and their family members. It provides a warm, compassionate environment for families to heal, and support each other while receiving medical care at the Joint Venture DoD/VA Hospital on Elmendorf AFB, in Anchorage, AK.

Dave Rooker Teaching Fly Tying at Fisher House

Dave Rooker Teaching Fly Tying at Fisher House

The Wounded Warrior Project.  The Wounded Warrior Project established a program in Alaska under the leadership of Sean Bennett, and Project Healing Waters is collaborating with the Wounded Warrior Project to better meet the needs of wounded warriors who qualify for both programs.  You can view more information about this organization at http://www.wwphighcap.org/ .

Summer 2013 Update

Women’s Fishing Trip.  Four U.S. military service members – all women – spent three days (July 25th – July 28th) at the Bear Trail Lodge located on the Naknek River near King Salmon, Alaska, on an all-expense-paid fly fishing excursion. Trout Unlimited (TU) partnered with Alaska Sportsman’s Bear Trail Lodge, Project Healing Waters Alaska, as well as with Mountain View Sports, VFW Post 9785 of Eagle River, VFW Post 3629 of Fairbanks, VFW Post 9365 of Wasilla, American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary Post #15 both of Palmer to offer a trip of a lifetime to these women and to thank them for their service. The participants were either active-duty military or veterans from Alaska who experienced physical or emotion disabilities due to their service. The trip was awesome and everyone caught king salmon!

Sunday kings DSCN0420

Jan Schnorr, Mike Malone and Dean Williams coordinated the trip to Tangle Lake in June.  Fortunately, the ice went out on the lake one week prior to the group arrival.  BLM from Glennallen, Fairbanks, and Anchorage provided three jet boats that enabled participants to travel up and down the river to catch 20-inch grayling.  Naidene and Jack Johnson, owners of the Tangle River Inn, provided meals for the participants. Daniel Galhardo, owner of Tenkara, introduced Tenkara fishing to everyone.  It was a blast catching big grayling on the 13-foot limber rods in fast water.

Joe grayling

Steve Tangle

Daniel G Teaching

Daniel Galhardo teaching about Tenkara fishing

Laura Orr coordinated another grayling fishing trip during June to Cantwell. Rick McMahan, owner of Denali Fly Fishing, provided the guide services, Kathie and Mike White, owners of the Backwoods Lodge, provided housing, and Sandy & Aleta Blanchard provided a backcountry BBQ along the riverside!  What a wonderful trip!

Casting Clinic.  PHW hosted a “Chuck and Duck” clinic for participants in preparation for the Russian River trip for red salmon on July 20th.  Jan Schnorr, explained and demonstrated the “Chuck and Duck” as well as rigging for the swift waters around the Ferry and participants practiced the skills of casting and tying knots.  Hoping for “Fish ON”.  Fifty-one individuals participated in the trip!

 

May 2013 Update

Fly Fund Raiser. Project Healing Waters volunteers still have some National Defense Service medal ribbon flies available. If you are interested in a fly for yourself or a military friend, you can obtain them at one of the following shops who have graciously volunteered to include them in their inventory:  Mossy’s Fly Shop, Mountain View Sports, 3 Rivers Fly Shop, and World Wide Angler.  The suggested donation amount is only $10.

National Defense Service Medal-6178

PHW invited to tour USS Anchorage.  On May 2nd, PHW participants and volunteers had the privilege of touring the USS Anchorage and meeting with Captain Joel Stewart.  Captain Stewart has a special connection with fly fishing.  Being a Montana fly angler-turned-sailor, he has traveled the world with a fly rod in his sea bag. During his tours in the Middle East and Iraq, he founded the Baghdad School of Fly Fishing and taught fly fishing to numerous other military personnel. After the USS Anchorage tour, Captain Stewart and Mark Huber demonstrated their casting skills on the aft deck.

Joel casting

USSAnchorageDSCN0104

 

 

First PHW Fishing Trip.  PHW volunteers took participants on a fishing trip to the Kenai River on April 28th to fish for rainbows.  Bob Rima, owner of Kenai River Drifters Lodge sponsored and coordinated the lodging and guided fishing and Sunrise Café provided some meal support.  Northern Industrial Training (NIT) provided a bus to transport volunteers and participants.  This was such a marvelous trip! Thank you for all of your support!

Casting Clinic.  PHW hosted a casting clinic for participants on May 16th.  David Little, a FFF certified casting instructor, volunteered at the event and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the practice session.  Thanks David.

Little instructingIMG_0066                                        Andy casting

 

April 2013 Update

PHW Rod Building. Participants finished making their rods in April.  A special thanks goes to Damond Blakenship for working with participants on this project.  All rods were provided free of cost by Hook and Hackle through a special national Project Healing Waters program.

Raffles.  Project Healing Waters volunteers with the assistance of Art Peck and the Alaska Fly Fishers sponsored two raffles at the Wasilla Sportsman’s Show and Great Alaska Sportsman’s Show.  The prizes included a beautiful custom made rod donated by Heidi Simpson and a Nor-vise.  We wish to thank all individuals who purchased tickets to support this special event.

Norlander Honored.  PHW honored Norm Norlander for his generous support of the program during the Great Alaska Sportsman’s Show by presenting him with a special shadow box filled with military medallions, special flies and a plaque.  A special thank you is also extended to Art Peck for designing and creating the shadow box.

Norm Receiving PHW Award from Laura Orr

Norm Receiving PHW Award from Laura Orr

Fly Fund Raiser. Project Healing Waters volunteers still have some National Defense Service medal ribbon flies available. If you are interested in a fly for yourself or a military friend, you can obtain them at one of the following shops who have graciously volunteered to include them in their inventory:  Mossy’s Fly Shop, Mountain View Sports, 3 Rivers Fly Shop, and World Wide Angler.  The suggested donation amount is only $10.

Fisher House.  PHW under the leadership of Dave Rooker is now providing tying instruction to veterans residing at the Fisher House on JBER.   The Fisher House is a “home away from home” for service members, veterans and their family members. It provides a warm, compassionate environment for families to heal, and support each other while receiving medical care at the Joint Venture DoD/VA Hospital on Elmendorf AFB, in Anchorage, AK.

Dave Rooker (right) teaching tying at Fisher House

Dave Rooker (right) teaching tying at Fisher House

Women’s Veterans Retreat.  PHW sponsored fly tying, knot tying, and casting sessions at the Women’s Veterans Retreat held at the VA Clinic on April 20th.  Volunteers included  Janelle Aguila, Laura Orr, Kelley Pearson, Heidi Simpson, Jan Schnorr, Susan Winton, Margaret Klatt, and Jolynne Howard.

First Fishing Trip.  Twenty people participated in the first fishing trip to the Kenai River on April 28th to fish for rainbows and some big bow were caught!  Bob Rima, owner of Kenai River Drifters Lodge sponsored and coordinated the lodging and guided fishing and the Sunrise Café provided some meal support.  Northern Industrial Training (NIT) provided a bus to transport the participants.  This was such a marvelous trip! Thank you for all of your support!

JT Caught This Beautiful Spring Rainbow

JT Caught This Beautiful Spring Rainbow

JBER Honors PHW Volunteers.  On April 23rd, JBER honored PHW volunteers who donated their time to help JBER personnel.  Individuals who donated at least 100 to 249 hours during 2012 received the bronze award; 250 to 499 hours received the silver award, and 500+ hours received the gold award.  Each person received a special pin and a JBER Medallion.  The volunteers and awards are listed below.  Congratulations to all volunteers and thank you for your service!

Name

Award

Stan Bissonett

Silver

Damond Blankenship

Silver

Christian Garrett

Bronze

Mike Harsh

Gold

Mike Henrie

Bronze

Mike Malone

Silver

Laura Orr

Gold

Ken Orr

Bronze

Dave Rooker

Bronze

Jan Schnorr

Gold

Frank Stevens

Silver

Monty Williams

Gold

Dean Williams

Bronze

 

March 2013 Update

Alaska Magazine Highlights Project Healing Waters.  Dave Atcheson, coordinator of the Alaska Kenai Fishing Academy, discusses “The Art of Fly Tying” and Project Healing Waters (PHW) in the April 2013 issue of Alaska Magazine. Dave talks about the thrill of catching trout on a fly that you have tied.  In addition, he quotes Monty Williams, a master tyer, Alaska Fly Fishers member and PHW volunteer, about his tying experiences and his new found service passion with Project Healing Waters.  Other tyers including Stan Bissonette, Mike Harsh, Frank Stevens and Brian Peeler talk about art versus functionality of flies.  Pick up a copy of the April issue; the article starts on page 44.

The Fly Fund Raiser is on schedule.  Thanks to our dedicated volunteers including Juan Aguilar, Stan Bissonette, Mike Harsh, Dave Rooker, Laura Orr, Ken Orr, Frank Stevens, JT Turner, and Monty Williams, we have 400 National Defense Service medal ribbon flies available as well as custom orders including shadow boxes. If you are interested in a fly for yourself or a military friend, you can contact Laura Orr at PHWAlaska@gmail.com. This fund raiser will continue until April 12, 2013 so please consider a donation to “Those Who Serve”.

PHW Rod Building. Damond Blakenship is working with participants on rod-building and most rods should be completed within the next several weeks.  All rods are provided free of cost by Hook and Hackle through a special national Project Healing Waters program.  Upon completion of the rods, participants can submit them to Project Healing Waters as part of a national contest.  Winners receive special fishing trips.

Physical Therapy Float Tubing Classes. Mike Malone is spearheading a special physical therapy program for PHW participants.  During March Mike Harsh, Dave Rooker, and Dean Williams provided additional poolside assistance. This program teaches participants to cast and use float tubes under the supervision of their physical therapist.  All activities take place at the Bartlett Pool on Wednesday afternoons through April. Casting improves shoulder strength and mobility while paddling in float tubes improves leg strength and mobility for individuals who have leg and back issues.  We want to thank the staff from the Bartlett Pool for donating the pool time for our use.  Please visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Healing-Waters-Alaska/123753750975528) to see photos of these and other activities.

PHW.tubing.rod.329

April Through October 2013 – Guided Fly-Fishing Outings Coordinated by PHW Volunteers