I don't come from a military family. I didn't serve in the military. But I enjoy and appreciate the freedoms provided and protected by our armed forces. And I try to remember their sacrifices always, but especially around holidays like Veterans Day and Memorial Day. But just thinking about it always rang a little hollow, and I often wondered how I could better express my gratitude. Last winter I met Ed Nicholson at a Fly Fishing show. Ed founded Project Healing Waters, a joint Trout Unlimited/Federation of Fly Fishers venture that offers wounded military from Walter Reed Army Medical Center opportunities to learn or enhance fly fishing and fly tying skills for physical and emotional rehabilitation and therapy.
Project Healing Waters runs on donations and volunteers, so I signed up for both. I'm a graphic artist until I win the lottery and fish full time, so I volunteered my design services and was thrilled to find out that PHW needed them. I designed their logo and help to put other fundraising pieces together. But the real reward came when I first went on an outing, with soldiers learning to fish -- or long time fishermen re-learning to fish using prosthetics. I've met many great people through my involvement with PHW, some of whom I now consider great friends, and getting involved in such a worthwhile project has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
So if you're so inclined, go to the Project Healing Waters web site and make a donation of time or money. And thank a Veteran today!