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Each year our Regions recognize a veteran participant who has caught the PHWFF vision and made it their own.  We are pleased to announce that Mark Joyner has been recognized as the 2016 Participant of the Year in the Virginia Region.

Mark Joyner is a disabled United States Marine. He comes to us of parents who were both United States Marines. His parent emigrated to American from Egypt and became American Citizens. In gratitude to their new homeland they joined the Marines. Mark followed in their footsteps and enlisted in the marines and served with honor. As a result of his services he sustained injuries, the greatest of which was Post Traumatic Syndrome (PTS). PTS has dogged Mark for many years. As a result he became anti-social at one point in his life and lived alone away from society.

Mark found Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing when he was sent for treatment at Hampton Veterans Administration Medical Center. He discovered Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing one day in a social area were the Program meets and became fascinated with the whole allure of fly fishing. He learned to tie flies immediately and it gave him a reason to interact with others. As he attended day and overnight outings his ability to reconnect with people grew. His passion for fly fishing also grew and he sought to learn as much as he could on his own and with help from our volunteer and his mentor, Bob Fryer. Mark rarely misses a meeting.

Over time Mark saw great improvement in his PTS. His doctor at the Hampton Veterans Administration Medical Center has written into his medical record that while all other forms of therapy had failed, the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Program at Hampton had at last helped him to overcome PTS. He shows considerable initiative and is deep into fly fishing.  He is now a volunteer guide on outings and has asked to attend our PHWFF- Virginia Guide School. … We anticipate Mark will become an outstanding guide but more importantly, he has become an outstanding person.

In sum, Mark Joyner is shining example of the efficacy of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.