Project Healing Waters has been recognized again for our continuous contributions to the veterans at the Bedford MA VA hospital. In total we have run over 50 events since 2009.
I agreed to start the Project Healing Waters fly fishing program at the Bedford Massachusetts VA hospital and serve as the team leader four years ago. I’d already been volunteering at the hospital and when this opportunity came along I jumped on it as it provided me the opportunity to “give back” while doing something I love.
My father in law was a highly decorated veteran (two Purple Hearts, Silver and Bronze Stars) for his service in World War II. He relied on the VA for much of his medical care and always spoke highly of the treatment he received. I started volunteering at the VA in 2008 in memory of him.
Fly fishing is recognized as a very effective form of rehabilitation therapy as it combines structured physical activity, camaraderie and a healing peaceful environment. Here is a quote from a typical story “It’s incredible what we are able to do when we introduce people to fly fishing,” said John Bass. “These young men come to us beat up physically and mentally. Not all will stay with fly fishing but while they are with us it helps them.” Bass is himself a quadriplegic after breaking his neck in a pool diving accident.
I’d like to thank all of the other volunteer fly fisherman who help make this happen and Recreational Therapist Leah Sullivan from the Bedford VA for their continuous support and encouragement. This is a team effort and there is no way we could have pulled off all of the programs without everyone pulling together.