Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing started over ten years ago when Ed Nicholson had a simple idea:
"Hey, let's take some vets fishing".
So some folks from the DC area got together in early 2005. We started by helping a few wounded vets from Walter Reed go pond fishing at the Old Soldiers Home in downtown Washington. It was a brutally hot early summer day, and nobody caught a thing. Except the idea we'd like to try again. And so we did.
Today, there are well over two hundred Project Healing Waters programs across the USA and in Europe. Most participants spend a weekday evening at a local VA hospital or military base tying flies, building rods, or just talking with their peers.
Maybe the talking is what it's all about. It's the best part, for me.
Then, of course, there's fishing. Local programs look for ways to get out every few weeks when the weather's cooperative, and we try to arrange larger events around the regions.
Stars & Stripers started eight years ago to show Healing Waters vets from the Mid-Atlantic there's more to fly fishing than chasing trout. (Not that there's anything wrong with that).
Over the years we've grown from a handful of boats and a hotdog lunch into Stars & Stripers. We bring together dozens of vets, their families, and local watermen for a great day on the Chesapeake Bay - followed by a shore lunch and crab feast.
We're still, and always will be, a community event. We're invite-only for veterans in the Project Healing Waters programs, and we don't charge a penny to the vets and their families. Everyone's volunteering their time, their crabs, clams, BBQ, and support.
We like it this way, it's our community.
And our privilege to serve these veterans.