Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Meet the Veteran Speakers: The 9th Annual 2-Fly Tournament

T-4 days. I cannot wait. Stay tuned later this week for how you can get involved in PHWFF and 2-Fly from home!


Three participants from our Program will share their inspiring stories of healing and the impact Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing has had on their recovery and transition to those in attendance at the Saturday night dinner of our 9th Annual 2-Fly Tournament. It is our honor to introduce them to you.

US Army | Vietnam

Daniel was born in Colfax, Washington in April of 1951 to the family that depended on hunting and fishing to provide meat for the dinner table.  His father, Roy, taught Dan to hunt on the family farm for upland game birds, water fowl, and white-tailed deer.  Fishing was done on many lakes, streams, and rivers of the Washington, Oregon, and Idaho area that he lived near.  Dan honed his fishing skills on the Snake, the Grande Ronde, the Clearwater, the St. Joe, and the St. Marie’s Rivers.  After two years of college, Dan joined the US Army in 1971.  He trained as a Military Policeman and was sent to Vietnam. He served as a Security Advisor and his many jobs included checking security on U.S. installations and fire bases, convoy escorts (food, fuel and ammunition), and the high point of his tour was when he was detailed to guard the entrance to the “War Room” where all plans and objectives were made concerning the war.  It was during his tour in Vietnam that he was exposed to Agent Orange that would come back to affect him in later years.  Dan went on to serve for five more years  all over the U.S. and Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1977.  He went to work for the U.S. Postal Service in 1981 and carried mail for the next 24 ½ years. During this time he started to suffer from severe depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the effects of the exposure to Agent Orange.  He retired in 2006 and was declared permanently and totally disabled.  His depression and physical ailments caused him to be confined to his wheel chair and house. In 2013, he met Steve Thompson, Program Lead for the Knoxville program of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF), and was invited to “go and see what we are all about”. He tried to give Steve a million reasons why he couldn’t join but eventually Steve convinced him to give it a try.  After his first outing to the Smokies, something clicked in his head.  He was introduced to fly tying and he has now made this his hobby and profession. He has gone on many fun excursions with PHWFF to include the Yellowstone River in Montana and the Florida Keys.  He talks up PHWFF with as many veterans as possible.  He was married to Kathy for 38 ½ years and is the father of Jason, Robert, and Andrew. He is also a grandfather to five grandsons.
“If it hadn’t been for Steve and PHWFF, I would probably be dead by now. I had no purpose or meaning to my life. They have given me a reason to live and try to do good things for others” – Dan Moneymaker

 US Army | Kosovo, Iraq & Afghanistan

Jason was born in Portland Oregon in July of 1981 to an Oregon State Game warden officer and his wife. His Father, David, taught him to fish, and respect the great outdoors in Oregon and northern California. Jason was taught to fish at a very young age, and would accompany his father, who was also an outdoor fishing editor, on many of his guided trips to the many lakes, rivers, streams, and ocean in California. He quickly found his calling in fishing for trout, catching, and breaking many lake records in the process. After graduating from high school, Jason joined the active Army as an Infantryman. After seven years of service he changed his job to a communications specialist due to injuries sustained. Jason held a key role as the Communications Non-commissioned officer in charge of a communications shop. He performed his job through numerous missions and deployments. He was deployed to Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanstan for a combined total of 33 months.  Over the years of service and deployments he received many injuries. In 2007 Jason was hit by a incoming mortar round causing severe injuries. After years of recovery he was once more allowed to deploy again where he sustained further injuries. Due to the severity of the injuries he was no longer able, and allowed to work. Due to this he was medically retired in November of 2013. Some of Jason’s more severe condition’s received from his injuries are periodic paralysis, blown disc and nerve damage in back, severe brain injury, internal bleeding, PTSD, chronic pain, and vertigo just to name a few. Due to his injuries he requires a caregiver and is no longer able to work. After being medevaced from Afghanistan back to his home and duty station in Anchorage, Alaska he was introduced to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. He quickly found a home with other veterans who shared his same passion for fishing. Jason was unable to fish at that time due to his condition, however he was able to tie flies. He felt his true calling, and devoted his free time to helping others who were going through his same situation. As of right now he is more mobile and is able to fish. Jason’s hobbies are fly-fishing, fly tying, rod building and being outdoors. His true passion in life is spending time with his wife Sarah of 11 years, and his four daughters. He loves to pass his passion of fishing, and the outdoors to his daughters Ella who is ten years old, Olivia who is eight years old, Sutton who is five years old, and youngest Campbell who is three years old. All of his daughters know how to fly fish, and all but the youngest can tie flies at this time. His wife and children are his constant source of support.

US Army | Iraq 

I spent most of my childhood growing up in the mountains of Western North Carolina. All I ever wanted to be was a solider. My father served in the Army and as a child I always admired his courage. The Army Corps of Engineers gladly accepted what I had to offer and I flew to Ft. Leonard Wood shortly after high school. Once enlisted I knew that I had found my true calling and strived to become all that I could be. I was destined for Germany but felt it in my best interest to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. My contract was breached and I was sent to Ft. Benning for three grueling weeks of Airborne training. Early mornings filled with Airborne cadences and Airborne shuffles. I proudly earned my jump-wings and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division/Ft. Bragg, NC. Almost immediately after settling in we were deployed to Iraq at the start of OIF. Our mission was to repair Al-Taqaddum Air Base located within the Sunni Triangle. We completed our mission and played a major role in getting supplies to places like Ramadi, Fallujah and Baghdad. I currently reside in Richmond, VA and am continuing therapy from wounds inflicted by combat. PHWFF has given me a new lease on life and is helping me become an active member of society again. Thank you so much!


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