SSG Shaun Outwater holds a 17-lb. king salmon he caught during the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing weekend on the Salmon River. Guide Norm Normandin stands behind him. Outwater released the salmon. (Photo by fellow blogger Spider Rybaak.)
Something very special took place on September 19 and 20 on the Salmon River. Something involving the beauty of a river, the excitement and thrill of fighting a trout or salmon, and the peacefulness and joy it brings to a wounded veteran. 15 wounded soldiers and veterans lined up the Salmon River all thanks to an amazing non-profit organization called Project Healing Waters.
Project Healing Waters is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active duty military personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.
It was a beautiful mid-September weekend and for the second year in a row, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery donated the use of their private access on the Salmon River. Last year the group came in early October, so they were catching Salmon, while this year the run was mostly browns.
I was fortunate enough to attend this event both years. I arrived taking photos for Fred Kuepper, PHW Oswego County and Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, but I left with a knowledge that something special happened in each veteran’s life. Each veteran or wounded soldier was paired up with guide to show them how to cast and fight the fish. Not one vet was lacking a guide because so many generously volunteered their time. The community also stepped up and donated supplies and food for the entire weekend. For exact details on the event, read the official news release here.
I could go on and on about the impact of such an amazing program, about the friendships that are made and about the good time that is had, but instead I will leave you with some photos that tell the story of Project Healing Waters on the Salmon River.