“While our chapter has enough volunteer members to provide the instruction, equipment and guide services for the 15 individuals from the Erie, Bath and Buffalo V.A. Hospitals, we are soliciting donations to offset the cost of food, lodging, fly tying tools and materials. We are proud to dedicate this year’s event in honor of all Korean War veterans and are working with the local American Legion and VFW’s to invite all local Korean War veterans to participate in our guests 40 mile motorcycle escort/parade through Potter County. Every year we create a DVD of the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing event and send a copy to each of the participants. What this experience has meant to previous guests is best exemplified by a quote from a thank you note we received from one of this past years disabled veteran participants:
“I don’t know how to thank-you…the DVD was out of this world. I never enjoyed myself as much as I did at your Project Healing Waters outing. And to be able to look back at this trip…it is the most emotional thing that has ever happened to me! God bless all of you for what you do. IT has made a difference in my life. THANK YOU!”
Please join in the enthusiasm we feel and help provide a unique outdoor and healing experience for our wounded war veterans in the peaceful setting of God’s Country. If you consider this event worthy of your support, please forward your tax deductible contribution to the God’s Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited – Project Healing Waters, Box 702, Coudersport, Pa. 16915. Thank you in advance for your support.”
Peter C. Ryan, DMD~Chapter President
Tues. May 20
12:30 PM – Disabled veteran guests, Coudersport American Legion Post 192 vehicle, motorcycle riders from the American Eagles and Patriot Guard Riders (estimated 65-70 riders), honored Korean War Veterans riding in an ATA bus provided by the Potter County Commissioners, chapter event
organizer David Saulter, and event photographer Tracie Edwards assemble and get organized at Dave’s Diner in Ceres, NY for the 45 mile parade/escort through Potter County, Pa.
1PM– The parade leaves and passes through Shinglehouse, Pa. and stops at the Oswayo Valley High School where the students have gathered roadside waving flags and playing music. The parade continues south on Rt. 44 where they are greeted west of Coudersport by students bussed in from the Northern Potter School system. The parade reaches downtown Coudersport @ 2PM where they are greeted by the Marine Corps League Honor Guard and flag waving and cheering business owners, county employees, as well as citizens anxious to give the veterans a warm welcome and thanks for their service to our country. The parade then heads east on Rt. 6 where they are greeted by students as they pass the Coudersport High School and as the parade heads south on Rt. 872, they are greeted by students bussed in from the Galeton School system. The participants then stop for a 45 minute break for a beverage and/or rest and pit stop and welcome at the Coudersport American Legion Post 192.
3PM– The parade re-organizes and heads south on Rt. 872 to Austin, where they are met and escorted by the Austin Volunteer Fire Company through town and greeted by the flag waving citizens and business owners of Austin. The entourage is then greeted by cheering and flag waving students
as they pass the Austin Area School and travel south to their destination at the First Fork Lodge in Costello, Pa.
4PM– The parade arrives at the First Fork Lodge where the veteran guests will be sleeping, eating breakfast, and relaxing on the porch for the next 3 days. Our guests are assisted by local boy scouts carrying their luggage to their rooms and greeted with individual gift baskets courtesy of the Potter
County Visitors Association and the Coudersport Chamber of Commerce. A welcome reception is held under a tent set up on the front lawn for our disabled veteran guest and honored Korean War veterans. where local girl scouts serve soft drinks, water and finger foods for all those who participated in the parade.
6PM– A wonderful prime rib “Welcome Dinner” will be served by the staff of the Lodge to our veteran guests, God’s Country Chapter TU volunteers and any area media representatives present. The agenda and expectations for the next 3 days are explained to our guests and following the dinner a short “Introduction to Fly Fishing” lesson is done on the front porch and lawn of the lodge. As darkness approaches, the vets receive commemorative tee-shirts and settle into the rocking chairs on the porch of the Lodge and the volunteers head home.
Wed. May 23
7:30 – 8:30 AM – Breakfast at the Lodge for the vets.
9AM – 12PM – All veteran guests and volunteers meet at the Big Moore’s Run Fish and Game Preserve where all the fly fishing will take place over the next 2 days in the Preserve’s lake and stream. Both are heavily stocked with very large trout for the enjoyment of our veteran guests by owner and chapter member Roy Magarigal. Another fly fishing and casting lesson as well as “catch and release” principles are given by 2 of our volunteer guide chapter members who are also “Orvis Endorsed” fly fishing guides. Each volunteer fishing guide then pairs up one-on-one with a veteran and the fishing and fun begins!!
12:30 – 1:30 – lunch is sponsored, prepared and served at the Austin-Costello Sportsmen’s Club by American Legion Post 192 , Sons of the Legion, and Auxiliary members.
1:30-2:30 – Introduction to Fly Tying by Dr. Pete Ryan, chapter president, at the Sportsmen’s Club. Each guest receives a fly tying vise, tools, materials, fly box and an instructional manual especially prepared for this event by our chapter. They also received personalized instruction from our members as they learn to tie the flies.
2;:30- 2:45 – Break- Volunteers and guests gather outside of the Club on the picnic tables, have a beverage and enjoy the newly bonded friendships and camaraderie among the entire group.
3:15- 4:30 – Fly Tying
4:30- 5:00– Break
5:00 – 6:30– Pig Roast Dinner at the Sportsmen’s Club – prepared and served by American Legion Post 192 with the pig, cooker and wood fuel all donated by local citizens.
6:00 – ? Return for more fishing at the Preserve and/or return to the Lodge for R&R, BS or just taking in the serenity of beautiful God’s Country from the porch.
Thurs. May 24
8AM – Breakfast at the Lodge
9AM – 12:00 – Refresher casting instruction and more “One-on-One” fishing at the Preserve with plenty of pictures taken of big fish and even bigger smiles on the faces of both veterans and volunteers! By this time most of the vets have caught and released at least one big fish with a fly that they have tied: the ultimate joy in fly fishing!
12:00 -1:00 – Barbecue lunch prepared and serve d by Otto Deuschlander and his crew from the “Allegheny Grill” along the shore of the lake at the Preserve.
1:15 – 2:30 – Fly tying at the Sportsmen ‘s Club and/or continued fly fishing…choice of the participants.
2:30 – 2:45 – Break
3:00 – 5:00 – More fly tying or return to the Preserve for more fishing.
5:00 – 5:30 – Break
5:30 – 7:00 – Dinner again prepared and served by the “Allegheny Grill”;prime rib, shrimp, salads, corn on the cobb, breads and desserts that will please even the most discerning taste buds!!
7:00 -7:30 – Closing ceremonies, gear bag and other gifts to each veteran guest, and the special ceremony for volunteers Tracie and Emily for their 7 years of dedication, hard work and time helping make sure our event runs smoothly and also recorded with pictures and videos for the DVD they produce and send to each veteran to commemorate their visit.
7:30 – dark – More fishing and/ or back to the Lodge.
Friday May 25
7:30 – 9 :00 AM – Breakfast and farewells as our disabled veteran guests head home with fond memories of three days spent in God’s Country, new friendships acquired as well as skills they can use in their emotional and physical rehabilitation.